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'Orthodox Priests' Get Sexy (And Gay) For Steamy, NSFW Spread

Holy smokes.

The Romanian team behind the controversial "Orthodox priests" calendars is, once again, offering a provocative (and gay) way to ring in the new year. 

The 2016 Orthodox Calendar  features 12 months of hunky models striking homoerotic poses alongside religious figures and iconography, effectively blurring the lines between sexuality and spirituality. This year's edition is titled "Sancta Paraphilia," which creators say translates to "holy desires, or sexual practices that differ from the traditional." The photos themselves "demonstrate...that desires and temptations do not know gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, color, opinion or beliefs, ability, age or any other status and certainly not borders," they said. 

One of the most eyebrow-raising images in the 2016 calendar is the cover shot, which depicts Russian President Vladimir Putin and Moscow's Patriarch Kirill I, two long-standing opponents of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights, depicted as each other's brides in briefs and skimpy lingerie. 

Jokes aside, press representative Magdalena De Iona told The Huffington Post that, as in previous years, the calendar is not intended to be used for religious purposes, but rather as an organized, artistic effort against homophobia in the Orthodox Church, to which nearly 90 percent of Romanians belong. Hopefully, she said, the calendar will prompt the church "to take some time to reflect about its teachings." 

"Art has long been one of the main channels for social change," she said. "What we stand for is true love and free will. And that makes us think one day we will find common ground, in a better world."

Steamy AND thought-provoking! 

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