A priest has been filmed pouring 70 litres of holy water over his city from a Soviet biplane to purge it of ‘alcohol, drugs and fornication’.

Footage shows Russian Orthodox priest Alexander Goryachev taking to the skies in an Antonov An-2 biplane armed with dozens of bottles of holy water and relics, including an icon of Saint John the Baptist.

An assistant can be seen pouring the blessed water into a huge metal chalice as the bearded priest, still in his clerical vestments, says a prayer before lobbing the liquid from the plane’s open door.

He appears to have to repeat the stunt numerous times to complete his mission.

Goryachev and two other clergymen reportedly made the flight on All-Russian Sobriety Day, which is celebrated every September 11.

He said: ‘Any disease is from a virus, and a virus is a demon. Therefore, any disease is primarily a spiritual disease.’

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But many were not so convinced by efforts and mocked the priest.

The priest hit out saying: ‘Where is the joke? That we are trying to help people get rid of diseases?

‘We want to stop alcohol consumption, drugs and fornication, is this really laughable?

‘Let them laugh, we will continue with our work.’

The blessings were made from a height of about 656 to 984 feet over the city of Tver, western Russia.

The cup is known as the ‘inexhaustible chalice’, believed by Orthodox Christians to heal those suffering from alcoholism and drug addiction.

The cup was used instead of the typical ‘aspergillum’ sprinkler to stop water spraying back into the plane, Goryachev explained.

A local man called Vyacheslav said he managed to quit the bottle after turning to the chalice during a pilgrimage to Tver, on which he met future wife Olga.

The pair joined the priest on this year’s flight.