Senior church mystic close to Putin flies over Moscow in business jet to perform a blessing ‘to protect Russian from coronavirus’

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.

The elder is a schema-archimandrite, a monastic priest who has attained the highest level of spiritual excellence.

It was unclear who had supplied the business jet.

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