The photo which started it all, courtesy of basilica.ro.
Romania loves its religion. In fact, over 80 percent of Romanians follow the Orthodox Christian church, meaning its priests have a lot of blessing to do. A few times a year, they'll go door to door in every village, town and city, walk through every room and throw holy water at whatever needs blessing with a basil branch – always for a price, of course.
However, sometimes the basil branch just won't do. The guy poking the TV screens with a paint-roller in the photo above is the resourceful leader of the Romanian church, Patriarch Daniel, who's become an internet superstar after developing a new blessing technique that involves dipping a paint roller in holy water and using it to bless hard-to-reach surfaces.
Many Romanians were quick to judge, so back in January the church issued a statement defending their "extendable blesser", instructing journalists to “read more on holy matters before misinforming the public".
You can do that if you like, or you can scroll through all these photos of Patriarch Daniel using his blessing rod instead.
June 30, 2010
Here's Patriarch Daniel using the blessing rod to get some holy oil under the roof of the Bârsana Monastery in Romania's Maramureș region.
July 11, 2010
His Holiness blessing a church in the city of Brașov. In this one, another priest is holding something that looks like a pine cone covered in M&M's. This is presumably helpful in some way.
September 6, 2010
The Patriarch rolling another level of benediction onto a freshly painted cathedral in Alba county.
October 31, 2010
Here's Daniel doing his thing to some paintings at the Bucharest School of Engineering campus church.
September 18, 2011
At this blessing in Turda, Patriarch Daniel gives a blow-by-blow commentary of what it takes to sanctify a wall with his rod.
June 1, 2012
On International Children's Day, Daniel carefully blessed the prayer corner of a kindergarten.
August 16, 2012
His Holiness inaugurating the summer altar of the Țigănești Monastery in the Teleorman region.
October 2, 2013
Here, Daniel is blessing an orphanage near one of his new churches. To the left, you'll notice a guy looking inexplicably bummed out about having to hold the Holy Rod.
November 3, 2013
In this photo, Daniel really doesn't need to be using the rod.
January 16, 2014
Here's the rod in the Romanian-American University, blending science and superstition with panache.
Bonus: Bishop Teofan of Iaşi shows Daniel that his rod is the biggest blessing rod in the game.
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