Romanian Orthodox 2014 calendar creators say it pays tribute to gay marriage. The calendar offers a variety of photos depicting young half-naked male models, while some of them are dressed as "priests".
The calendar is "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," the creators promise.
OC (Orthodox Calendar) was first issued in 2012. Behind the idea is a group of Orthodox Christian eastern Europeans from the former communist regions.
One of the calendar's organisers explains that there weren't any actual priests involved in the photoshoot. Rather, the models are "gay-friendly members of the Orthodox Church" who have chosen to strip down, as they believe in freedom of speech, tolerance, equality and human rights."
According to the group's official website, the group's 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."
Reactions from within the church have been mixed, ranging from calling the people behind the idea "terrorists," to ignoring.
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.