Orthodox elder Iliy Nozdrin flew above Moscow and St Petersburg to bless cities
He was seen flying alongside another prominent priest with icons and a cross
The trip in an executive jet was designed to ‘protect Russia from the pandemic’
He is called Russia’s ‘most important and fashionable elder’, popular with VIPs
An 88-year-old church mystic close to Vladimir Putin has performed a blessing in an executive jet above Moscow and St Petersburg to ‘protect Russia from coronavirus’.
Orthodox elder Iliy Nozdrin was seen alongside another prominent priest with icons and a cross blessing residents.
The elder – who is confessor to Russia’s most senior churchman Patriarch Kirill – prayed to rid the country of the ‘destructive infection’.
A church source said: ‘Iliy today flew over our capital cities with a pray to protect Russia from coronavirus pandemic.’
The hunched, grey-bearded Nozdrin is seen as having sway over Putin and one ex-official told Proyeky investigative journalists he is Russia’s ‘most important and fashionable elder’ who is ‘popular among VIPs’.
Seen as a healer, he has been sought out by many leading officials.
He once ordered a Russian governor to sideline both his wife and mistress, it was reported.
Referring to Putin’s divorce in 2013, he asked the surprised politician: ‘Do you see women close to our president?’
A former regional official said that ‘through Iliy, you can convey information to the president in [just] two days’.
Nozdrin has dismissed anti-Kremlin protests as ‘trash’ and ‘enemy acts’ unleashing ‘dark forces from an abyss’, while urging people to pray for Putin.
The elder is a schema-archimandrite, a monastic priest who has attained the highest level of spiritual excellence.