March 11, 2021

Intrigue at the Monastery


Intrigue at the Monastery
Siloviki gather outside one of the churches at the Sredneuralsk Monastery near Yekaturinburg on Friday March 26th. /Screenshot from Двач/Ньюсач on Telegram.

Last month, Russian riot police and members of the Russian National Guard Special Police Force huddled at the entrance to one of the churches of Sredneuralsk Monastery outside of Yekaturinburg. Their mission? Arresting a suspect in a 20-year-old murder case who was thought to be sheltering on monastery lands.

The monastery had already been embroiled in scandal back in December, when its Covid-denying patriarch Father Sergiy, who helped found the convent, took control. The Russian Orthodox Church had banned Father Sergiy from preaching after he accused them of “working with the forerunners of the antichrist” after closing Russian churches.

The Telegram channel "Двая/Ньюсач" (Dvach/Nyusach) published a video of the scene last Friday. Siloviki milled on the steps of the church in black helmets and bodysuits as women — presumably nuns — raised concerned voices alongside rapid clanging of the church’s bells.

The police had come to investigate the murder of three people. The case dates back to 1999 when three individuals were murdered in a situation involving robbery and illegal arms trafficking. Three more men were implicated, and two were identified and imprisoned. The third suspect disappeared from the investigation.

The Friday night raid targeted a man who had been convicted of theft in the past hiding in the monastery under the name of the monk Siluan. He fled the scene into the forest.

It is thought that there may be other criminals lying low in the monastery. Since monastic life means anonymity, several men are currently housing themselves beneath the roof of the convent — although, as practice would dictate, no one should be shacking up there for long. Even the priest who holds services at the nunnery goes home at the end of the day.

 

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