Notorious Orthodox clergyman found guilty by church


Interfax-Religiia, 29 December 2020


A court of the Moscow city diocese considered a report about the ecclesiastical violations of an unemployed Moscow cleric, Archdeacon Andrei Kuraev, and found him deserving of removal from clerical rank, the diocesan website reported on Tuesday evening.


"The decision to depose Archdeacon Andrei Kuraev from clerical rank will take effect when it is confirmed by the ruling bishop of the city of Moscow, the patriarch of Moscow and all-Rus, and before that it may be appealed within the established period," the report notes.


The court made the judgment that on 21 April 2020, Father Andrei published on his LiveJournal blog an insulting characterization of Archpriest Alexander Ageikin, who had died on that day from consequences of the coronavirus.


The court determined that in Archdeacon Kuraev's statements there was evidence of "blasphemy against the church." The court's decision also speaks of indicators of the archdeacon's slanderous activity, in particular in accusing the Russian Orthodox Church of "creation of schism" (in world Orthodoxy—IF).


The court concluded that Kuraev had not changed the nature of his activity after admonitions back in 2015 from the diocesan spiritual director, Archpriest Georgy Breev, and members of the disciplinary commission.


In accordance with the by-laws of a church court, the archdeacon had been summoned to the church court by established procedure three times. While, as noted, on only one occasion was his refusal to participate in its session acknowledged to be based on a justifiable reason (the state of his health).


In response to the fourth summons to a court session, scheduled for 29 December 2020, on 25 December Kuraev sent an email communication of the following contents: "I earnestly request that the session be postponed to January, since in the days before New Year's Moscow is stuck in traffic jams and it is dangerous to take the subway because of the pandemic." In the morning of 29 December, the archdeacon sent a letter to the chairman of the diocesan court in which he stated his refusal to appear in the church court.


"In view of the refusal to appear at the session, the church court considered it reasonable to review the case in absentia," the report of the Moscow city diocese says. (tr. by PDS, posted 30 December 2020)

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