Russia jails renegade priest who seized control of convent
A Russian court on Tuesday sentenced a renegade priest to three and a half years in prison after it found him guilty of inciting suicide and seizing control of a convent.
A Russian court on Tuesday sentenced a renegade priest to three and a half years in prison after it found him guilty of inciting suicide and seizing control of a convent. Riot police raided the nunnery near the Ural Mountains last December and arrested Father Sergiy, who had been suspended from the Russian Orthodox Church, but refused to leave the site or allow some people in.
He had gained national prominence after denying the existence of the coronavirus, railing against church closures caused by the lockdown, and criticising the Orthodox Church. In court the priest, whose real name is Nikolai Romanov, denied charges of driving people to suicide, violating the right to freedom of conscience and fomenting unlawful actions. He was found guilty on all three counts.
The Investigative Committee, which handles probes into serious crimes, said he had called on at least 10 nuns to commit suicide and shared a video of the sermon online. In court, the priest said he had been asking the nuns about their readiness for "spiritual patriotism" and not encouraged them to take their own lives, the RIA news agency reported.
The man had previously been sentenced to 13 years in jail for murder and robbery but was released in the 1990s, the Investigative Committee said in a statement.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)