- Title: Faith makes things lighter for Ukrainian priest and world powerlifting champion
- Date: 27th January 2017
- Summary: KOCHMAR DURING SERVICE CANDLES BURNING/ BOY AT SERVICE
- Embargoed: 10th February 2017 09:28
- Keywords: Ukraine Orthodox priest priest church powerlifting
- Location: KUBEI, UKRAINE
- City: KUBEI, UKRAINE
- Country: Ukraine
- Topics: Living/Lifestyle,Society/Social Issues
- Reuters ID: LVA00260UV2GP
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Victor Kochmar is an orthodox priest in the Church of Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary from a small village of Kubei in south western Ukraine, near the border with Moldova.
The 46 year-old is also one of the most decorated powerlifters in the world with a total of 64 gold medals, which he won in various international competitions.
He was crowned world champion in 2012 and 2015 and the Ukrainian weightlifter also keeps a personal and world record in bench press - 250 kg.
Kochmar says he is the only priest in the world who is a professional powerlifter and he says faith is the driver of his success.
"In the first place is of course service to God, and this is secondary. This is faith, faith that helps everywhere, faith helps in the sport."
Kochmar was into weightlifting since he was a young man, and used to works as a policeman. But at the age of 30, he chose to study in a seminary to become a priest.
There is no place to practice powerlifting in his village, so Kochmar works out three times a week at home.
Every Sunday he leads a church service wearing his gold-embroidered priest's robe.
Thanks to his impressive muscles and career in sports, Kochmar became a role model for the youth in his flock.
"Young people turn to him, probably because lifting a barbell is better than lifting a bottle in a bar, I think," says Elena Tanova, resident of Kubei village and Kochmar's church member.
Apart from the service to God, Kochmar's dream is to set a new world record in powerlifting.
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