Orthodox dissident still attracting news media attention


Interfax-Religiia, 15 January 2021


The former schema monk Sergius (Nikolai Romanov), who was detained on a charge of encouraging suicide, has quit his dry hunger strike, which he earlier declared as a sign of protest.


"He told us that he quit his hunger strike, which he had maintained for 18 days, and today he will take food and drink water," a member of the Public Monitoring Commission, Marina Litvinovich, told Interfax. She said the former schehegumen feels normal and chipper.


In her turn, Sergius' lawyer Svetlana Gerasimova told the news agency that her client was fasting. "It was a fast. I met with Father Sergius today. We talked . . . . With the blessing of elders from Athos he will end his obedience of the fast and begin slowly tasting water," the lawyer said.


She also confirmed that the former schema monk feels fine. Gerasimova also said that no expert examinations or investigative activities were conducted while Sergius was imprisoned in Matrosskaya Tishina.


Sergius declared the dry hunger strike after he was placed in custody. He declared that he categorically disagrees with the measure of restriction selected for him. Earlier the Basman district court of Moscow approved the detention of Romanov until 28 February.


The former schehegumen is charged under part 3 of article 110.1 of the Criminal Code of the R.F. (encouragement of suicide), part 3 of article 148 (violation of the right to freedom of conscience and religious confession), and article 330 of the CC RF (highhanded behavior).


According to information from the S.K.R., Romanov publicly urged at least ten nuns, who live in the convent, to commit suicide.


"Subsequently, while aware that his appeals could be received by an undefined broad circle of persons and lead to socially dangerous consequences, he published on the internet a video recording of his speech containing evidence of encouraging believers to commit suicide under the guise of the religious ideology of Christianity," the Investigative Committee reported.


He does not acknowledge his guilt.


The former schema monk Sergius was stripped of his clerical rank for violating his clerical oath, his monastic vows, several apostolic rules, and church canons and he was expelled from the church on 10 September. Nevertheless the former schehegumen has frequently declared that he does not intend to abandon the Central Urals convent.


Police arrested Romanov in the cloister on 29 December 2020. (tr. by PDS, posted 15 January 2021)

Related article:
Police detain dissident Orthodox figure
December 29, 2020

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