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Orthodox 'Priests' Strip Off For Gay Calendar They Say Will Bring 'Hope, Joy And Comfort'

 A new calendar created by Romanian Orthodox Christians featuring muscular male models in steamy poses has been unveiled. The men behind the...

 A new calendar created by Romanian Orthodox Christians featuring muscular male models in steamy poses has been unveiled.

The men behind the Romanian Orthodox 2014 calendar say it pays tribute to gay marriage, which, they say, 'is in the news all around the world and very timely'.

One shot shows a half-naked model reading the bible, another shows a man posing in the buff on a bed clutching some rosary beads.

Orthodox 'Priests' Strip Off For Gay Calendar They Say Will Bring 'Hope, Joy And Comfort'

'A great gift for people who like illustrations, artwork, artistic photography, and controversial art in their decor. These pictures will definitely bring you hope, joy and comfort,' promise the creators.

OC (Orthodox Calendar) was established in 2012 and is the brainchild of a group composed mostly of Orthodox Christian eastern Europeans of the former communist regions.

One of the calendar's organisers told The Huffington Post that the snaps don't feature any actual priests. The models are gay-friendly members 'of the Orthodox Church' who have chosen to strip down for the sexy shoot 'because they believe - like us - in freedom of speech, tolerance, equality and human rights.'

'This product is not intended to be used for religious purposes. It is a work of artistic expression and political and social commentary promoting the modernity and dynamism of persons involved in the Orthodox Church,' added the source.

Orthodox 'Priests' Strip Off For Gay Calendar They Say Will Bring 'Hope, Joy And Comfort'
Orthodox 'Priests' Strip Off For Gay Calendar They Say Will Bring 'Hope, Joy And Comfort'

Writing on their website they say their primary goal is to 'demonstrate that Orthodox believers do not all fit the backward, hidebound stereotype portrayed in the press but rather are regular people with passions, preferences, interests and desires.

'At the same time, the calendar takes an ironic approach to the Orthodox Church itself, which in recent years has baeen embroiled in corruption scandals, artist repression, gay sex cover-ups, outrageous behavior and homophobia,' they add.

Through their calendars, the six creatives behind the calendar are hoping to counteract, what they describe as the 'negative and outdated influences of most of the Orthodox church leadership'.

Orthodox 'Priests' Strip Off For Gay Calendar They Say Will Bring 'Hope, Joy And Comfort'
Orthodox 'Priests' Strip Off For Gay Calendar They Say Will Bring 'Hope, Joy And Comfort'

Reactions from within the church have been mixed.

According to the website: 'Some called them terrorists; some did not bother to react. The coolest reaction was from the Greek Patriarchy, who declared ”they did not approve but understand it could be appreciated by creative people and minorities".'

And indeed it has been. With bold colors, homoerotic undertones, OC’s artwork has drawn comparisons to American photographer David LaChapelle and French artists Pierre & Gilles.

Photo sessions and casting took place in the predominantly Orthodox area of Eastern Europe. Casting calls have been open to the public via online announcement on the promoter’s website.

Orthodox 'Priests' Strip Off For Gay Calendar They Say Will Bring 'Hope, Joy And Comfort'

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