A Russian priest has been caught on camera testing his novel solution for sprinkling worshippers with holy water.
Footage shows how he deployed a hose in his church to squirt parishioners and was able to finish his duties in no time.
There was laughter when he suddenly turned the hose on them, with some of his devout congregation evidently drenched.
The priest’s identity and location have not been revealed but the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow said there was ‘no scandal’ in the clergyman’s unexpected action.
Video shows the priest picking up the hose and spraying several people, with some of them giggling and water even hitting the camera.
Those at the front of the church do not flinch or appear worried as they get wet and members of the choir can be heard perfectly singing a hymn throughout the clip.
Church official Vakhtang Kipshidze said: ‘At Epiphany, people are sprinkled by holy water. How it is done is a technical detail, a matter of taste.’
He insisted: ‘There is no scandal. Sprinkling believers at Epiphany is a normal practice.
‘Exactly how depends on the particular priest, and his relationship with parishioners.
‘If it is perceived by them as normal, then I don’t see a problem here.’
If anyone objected, they should contact the priest, he told Govorit Moskva radio. But he did not name the hosing cleric.
Yet many Russians at Epiphany voluntarily opt for a total immersion in the ice holes of frozen lakes or rivers with air temperatures as low as minus 50C.
By comparison the priest’s church dousing was mild.