The Russian Orthodox Monastery of Optina, in Kozelsk, celebrates a daily procession in which both the monastery, its surroundings and its inhabitants are blessed. It is just one among the many customs, rituals and traditions that shape the daily routine of monastic Russian life.
But the monastery is not only inhabited by monks: 10 stray cats have been adopted, raised and cared after by the community in exchange for their ability to keep certain undesired visitors (mainly mice and roaches) at a distance.
It seems, though, that the cats have adopted certain monastic habits as their own: every morning they walk along with Father Sergei Kuzmich as he blesses the monastery, the monks and, needless to say, the 10 kittens.
As the book of Daniel says, “All you beasts, wild and tame, bless the Lord.” Literally.