Russian church rides the rails

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

As if recovering from seventy years of godless Communism wasn’t bad enough for the Russian Orthodox church, the fall of the regime has brought a whole new challenge: flocks of Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, and emissaries from other overseas religions competing with the old church for unsaved Slavic souls. In response, the Orthodox church has launched a church-on-wheels to spread the word.

Recent Must Reads

10/20 – Eco-Christianity in the Rockies

10/19 – Regis irks disabled

10/18 – Bush, North Korea, and the Moonies

10/17 – Gay in Guatemala

The GUARDIAN UNLIMITED reports that the rolling church has been painstakingly outfitted with a pulpit and altar, stained glass, and gold leaf worth more than US$70,000 — making it, as a train factory official bragged, “the most expensive carriage in all Russia.” Drunks and beggars were shooed out of the station so Patriarch Alexei II could come sprinkle the train with holy water to send it on its way.

The train will carry a team of six priests and 12 trainee clerics to remote, churchless villages in the far north, where an intensive line-up of weddings, funerals, and christenings await them.


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend