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These Stray Cats Follow This Russian Monastery's Daily Blessings And It So Sweet

"We just wanted to show something simple and kind."

Posted on April 4, 2016, at 8:55 a.m. ET

The fathers at the Optina Monastery in Kozelsk, Russia, still practice the ancient rituals of their early 19th-century elders.

https://www.facebook.com/Optina.ru/photos/a.327034634010842.66607.105782159469425/353313061382999/?type=3&theater
https://www.facebook.com/Optina.ru/photos/pb.105782159469425.-2207520000.1459770910./981949851852647/?type=3&theater

But one daily prayer ritual at the Eastern Orthodox monastery for men has an unexpected group of devout followers — a band of stray cats.

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com / Via youtube.com

A video posted by the monastery on Tuesday shows Sergey Kuzmich, 65, a father there for 20 years, leading the daily blessings along the grounds.

Optina Ru / Via youtube.com

Following Kuzmich through the snowy yard are the monastery's 10 cats, who live in the complex. The felines get blessed along the way, too.

Optina RU / Via youtube.com

Cats have lived at the monastery since it was first founded in the early 19th century, the monastery's website editors told BuzzFeed News.

"Nobody calls for cats in any specific way," said the editors. "They follow this procession all by themselves."

Optina Ru / Via youtube.com

The daily blessing is intended for the people of the monastery, but the cats follow the procession on their own.

The cats are a consoling presence at the monastery.

Optina Ru / Via youtube.com

"We let them live here because we feel their misery," said the editors. "Plus they also protect [the] monastery from rats, mice, and forest snakes."

And they're pretty cute.

Optina Ru / Via youtube.com

"We want this video to bring people [into a] good mood," said the editors.

Optina Ru / Via youtube.com

"There is so much bad and terrible news now in the world," they added. "So we just wanted to show something simple and kind."

Translation provided by BuzzFeed's Victor Stepanov.

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