Christian Living


Hollywood Insight 05/06/16

Almost Holy: New Terrence Malick Documentary Spotlights Ukrainian Pastor

Gennadiy Mohknenko

"People must have home. They must have food. People must have family. It's not God's problem...MY problem." - Pastor Gennadiy Mokhnenko

An epidemic swept through Ukraine some years ago. Kids of all ages, abandoned and living on the street, struggled to survive. They got hooked on drugs, molested, and raped. The scene was gruesome and pastor Gennadiy Mokhnenko refused to ignore it.

Desperate to see a change in his city, Mokhnenko set up a rehab center and took on criminals and complacent government officials to rescue the dying, drug-addicted homeless children of Mariupol, Ukraine.

This priest/protector/vigilante became a controversial figure for his unorthodox tactics, which included abducting street kids against their will and taking them to his rehab center.

"Pastor Crocodile", as he calls himself, broke the rules, but what he did for the forgotten children of the Ukraine was God's work.

"Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you." James 1:27, New Living Translation

As Christians, we're called to be the hands and feet of Jesus, and the Bible tells me that Jesus would be right there with Mokhnenko pulling kids out of their makeshift gutter homes.

Mokhnenko's work caught the eye of CBN years ago. Since then, he's been featured in a few CBN News stories. Here are two such reports:

On May 20, 2016, Almost Holy, a new documentary about Mokhnenko's work and ministry, releases in theaters.

Rated R for "disturbing content involving drugs and alcohol, sexual references and language", the Terrence Malick-produced project doesn't shy away from the harsh realities of everyday life for the street kids in Mariupol. Viewer discretion is strongly advised, but do consider seeing this provoking film.

What this documentary shows is a side of life some Christians and Westerners ignore or are blissfully unaware of and though it's heartbreaking, it's important that the ministries of brave men and women are highlighted to inspire a new generation of rescuers.


In Theaters – May 20

Steve Hoover

Terrence Malick and Nicolas Gonda

The fall of The Soviet Union left Ukraine in a wake of social and political upheaval. The crippled economy and corrupt infrastructure produced little hope. However, a pastor and civic leader from Mariupol, Ukraine named Gennadiy Mokhnenko made a name for himself by forcibly abducting homeless drug-addicted kids from streets of his city. He founded Pilgrim Republic, a children's rehabilitation center and home for former street kids. With Gennadiy’s help over the years, things seem to have changed. Mariupol is no longer crawling with homeless kids. Many credit this largely to his efforts at Pilgrim. Now, as the large majority of Ukraine leans towards a European Union inclusion, hopes of continued revitalization seem possible. In the meantime, Gennadiy's center has evolved into a more nebulous institution.

Related Articles

About This Blogger

Latest Blog Entries

Get Email Updates
Give Now