Russian police have arrested a monk and charged him with inciting suicidal actions, the Associated Press reported.
The monk, Father Sergiy, was captured Tuesday after police in heavy armor raided the Sredneuralsk monastery, located in the Ural Mountains outside the city of Yekaterinburg, overnight, according to the Associated Press.
A court in Moscow has approved of the monks arrest, and has charged him with inciting suicidal acts because he has allegedly told his followers to “die for Russia” in his sermons, the Associated Press reported. (RELATED: Professor Caught Trying To Fish Murdered Lover’s Arms Out Of A River Sentenced, Jailed)
Russian riot police storm into monastery to detain rebel monk who has castigated the Kremlin and the Russian Orthodox Church leadership and denied the existence of the coronavirus. https://t.co/eXNwi6g6oF
— ABC News (@ABC) December 29, 2020
Russia’s Investigative Committee says Sergiy will also face other criminal charges for his stewardship of the monastery, according to the Associated Press.
Sergiy founded the monastery near Yekaterinburg years ago, but returned and took control of the monastery using the help of veterans from the separatist conflict in eastern Ukraine, the Associated Press reports. Sergiy rejected the Russian Orthodox Church’s attempt to strip his abbot’s rank from him in July for violating monastic rules, and ignored summons from police, according to the Associated Press. For months, law enforcement and church authorities were hesitant to take Sergiy into custody because of his strong following, the Associated Press reported.
When it came time for police to finally apprehend Seriy, they were met with harsh resistance from the monk’s followers, according to the Associated Press. Sergiy’s supporters stayed to protest their leader’s arrest for hours after his arrest, the Associated Press reported.
— Reuters (@Reuters) December 29, 2020
Sergiy has been an outspoken critic of the Kremlin and the leadership of the Russian Orthodox Church, the Associated Press reported. He believes Russian President Vladimir Putin is a “traitor to the Motherland” and is in service to a Satanic “world government.” Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, and other church leaders are “heretics” that must be “thrown out,” according to Sergiy, as reported by the Associated Press.
Sergiy has reportedly denied the existence of the coronavirus, and has called Russia’s containment strategy “Satan’s electronic camp.” He has urged his followers to not comply with lockdown measures, and also believes in the conspiracy theory that vaccines being developed against COVID-19 are part of a plot to chip the world’s populace, the Associated Press reported.
During the Soviet era, Sergiy was a member of law enforcement, according to the Associated Press. Once he left his law enforcement job, he was sentenced to prison for 13 years due to a murder, robbery, and assault conviction, the Associated Press reported.
After his release, he joined a church school, became a monk, and began opening churches in the Ural region, according to the Associated Press.