Last summer, some of the Weird World Wire team were hanging out with Young Pioneer Tours around Eastern Europe. YPT is a company specializing in off the beaten track budget adventures to ‘places your mother would rather you stayed away from’. We soon found ourselves in Moldova, otherwise known as Europe’s poorest and least visited country.
We grabbed a few beers and started exploring this frankly depressing city, but one city you need to visit before you die. After dodging gypsies in an abandoned Soviet-era school, we checked out one of the most picturesque monasteries in the city only to find one of the most bizarre sights of the day. The religion in Moldova is mostly Russian Orthodox, which means onion domes, gold crosses and some old school style religion.
Outside of the monastery gates, a fairly wealthy-looking local family dressed in their Sunday best were standing around a brand new, black SUV that they seemed pretty proud of. Out of the gates appeared two Russian Orthodox priests carrying a box of holy water. The priests proceeded to douse the car in copious amounts of holy water and say a prayer as we looked on in confusion.
We later found out that it’s Russian Orthodox tradition to bless new cars with holy water to protect it from accidents, and it doesn’t end at cars. We soon found pictures of Orthodox blessings being placed on all manner of things, from nuclear missiles to Kalashnikovs, there is almost nothing these Russians won’t bless!