The oldest veteran of WWII has died as a 104-year-old monk.


Nikolay Bukirev, also known by his church name of Kuksha, served as a mortar operator in the last world war.


He was 28 when he started military service.


After the war he worked for a footwear company for about a decade and in the late 1950s decided to devote his life to God.


He started working for the Church Of All Saints in the town of Kungur in central Russia's Perm Krai region as a sacristan, in charge of looking after the church building and facilities.


In the 1970s he became a reader and later a sub-deacon.


It was not until 1998 that he decided to become a monk.


At the age of 101 he achieved the highest and the most difficult rank for Orthodox monks: that of great schema.


The great schema is the highest level of spiritual excellence and Kuksha, as he was then known, was the oldest person in the region to achieve the honour.


It involved him taking a new set of vows, being tonsured and wearing a specific set of garments reserved for similar initiates.


He took his name from Kuksha of Odessa, who died in 1965 and was canonised by the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in 1995.

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Author: Zoey McDougall

Zoey McDougall
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