Dispute between two priests leads to physical violence


Interfax-Religiia, 21 April 2017


Two courts in sequence in Tver province acquitted a "metropolitan" of the schismatic religious organization "Apostolic Orthodox Church," Oleg Zimaiev, who in September 2016 attacked with scissors the priest Oleg Filippov in his church and wounded his head and arm in the presence of two witnesses.


"Armed with scissors in his possession and using them as a weapon, he inflicted with them on O.P. Filippov no fewer than two blows in the area of the head, causing a wound in his right parietal region and a bruise on the second finger of the left hand," the court materials say, which Interfax has at its disposal.


As the injured priest stated in court, the conflict between him and O. Zimaev has a long history, stemming from the religious conflicts of the unrecognized Apostolic Church and the Moscow patriarchate. The conflict reached an acute stage after an argument in the cemetery near the church, where the burial of one of the leaders of the unrecognized Apostolic Church occurred.


A few days after the argument at the funeral, O. Zimaev entered the church of the village of Martynovo, Krasnokholmsk district, Tver province, where Father Oleg was rector, and he committed his attack.


O. Zimaev, who is a "metropolitan" of the schismatic organization that is not recognized by a single one of the local Orthodox churches, said that he wanted only to cut the hair of the Orthodox priest, and at the time he accidentally wounded him with the scissors.


This explanation satisfied both courts, which ruled to consider that the wounds caused by the "careless" actions were without intent to inflict wounds, for which no accountability is provided by law.


Also the courts refused to consider that the motive of A. Zimaev's actions was religious hostility, referring to the fact that the motive behind his actions was discontent on the basis of the conflict in the cemetery.


Thereby the courts supported the line of O. Zimaev's defence, which insisted that he cannot experience hostility against a priest of the Russian Orthodox Church, since he thinks that the Moscow patriarchate and the Apostolic Church are a single whole.


"As evidence of this knowingly false thesis, O. Zimaev presented to the court forged documents of his affiliation with the Russian Orthodox Church, and came to the session in metropolitan's vestments used in the Moscow patriarchate," the Tver metropolitinate told the news agency.


At the present moment, O. Zimaev, who committed the attack, is completely acquitted; the injured party plans to appeal the court's ruling at a higher judicial instance. (tr. by PDS, posted 23 April 2017)

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