A monk was dismissed from the Russian Orthodox Church on Friday for occupying a monastery, ignoring the coronavirus pandemic and disregarding Kremlin lockdown mandates, the Associated Press reported.
Nikolai Romanov, known as Father Sergiy, encouraged his followers to disregard church leadership and pandemic lockdowns, the AP reported. A hearing was held in Yekaterinburg, a city in the Ural Mountains, where a church panel voted to defrock Sergiy, who did not attend the meeting and denounced the decision.
“We can’t allow that wolf pack to mangle Russia and the neighboring nations,” Sergiy said, according to the AP. The monk called for Putin, Patriarch Kirill and other church officials to be tried by an all-Russian assembly.
The Russian Orthodox Church defrocked a coronavirus-denying monk who has defied Kremlin lockdown orders and taken control of a monastery. He says he won’t leave peacefully and is protected by battle-hardened volunteers who fought in eastern Ukraine. https://t.co/P8wc1t07aO
— AP Europe (@AP_Europe) July 3, 2020
Sergiy accused Putin of being a “traitor to the Motherland” who does the work of a “Satanic world government,” the AP reported. He called Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church, and other top clerics “heretics” and “enemies of God and Holy Mother of God” who need to be “thrown out” of the church. (RELATED: Putin Praises Russians For Voting ‘With Their Hearts’ To Let Him Keep Power Until He’s 83)
The monk was banned from ministry by the church in May and he returned to a monastery he previously founded outside of Yekaterinburg, the AP reported. The monastery was found to be in compliance with public orders during a police visit the day after Sergiy returned.
“I’m calling on all Orthodox believers to come to defend the monastery. I will not leave the monastery,” Sergiy said, according to the AP.
Sergiy became a monk after he was released from prison, where he served 13 years for charges of robbery and assault, the AP reported. He gained notoriety after trying to open places of worship across the Urals and preaching passionate sermons against the “world government.”
According to the AP, Sergiy told church officials they will have to take the monastery by force if they want to remove him.
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