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Prosecutors seek four-year prison sentence for ex-communicated Orthodox priest who seized convent outside of Yekaterinburg

Source: Interfax

Prosecutors have asked the court to sentence former Schema-Hegumen Sergii (Nikolai) Romanov to four years in prison, Interfax reported on Monday, November 29.

Romanov’s trial is taking place at the Izmailovsky District Court in Moscow. The ex-communicated Orthodox priest stands accused of arbitrariness, violating the right to freedom of conscience and religion, and incitement to suicide. 

According to investigators, Romanov urged believers to commit suicide under the guise of spreading Christian ideology. He also stands accused of obstructing a property survey of the Sredneuralsk Women’s Monastery — an institution Romanov seized in June 2020 — and of preventing representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church from accessing the monastery’s grounds, thereby preventing the conduct of religious ceremonies.

Sergii Romanov is a former Schema-Hegumen of the Russian Orthodox Church and one of the most well known priests in Russia’s Ural region. In the spring of 2020, he was banned from conducting religious services due to his radical views on the coronavirus epidemic. 

In June 2020, Sergii Romanov seized the Sredneuralsk Women’s Monastery, a convent outside of Yekaterinburg, and overthrew the Mother Superior. He continued to conduct religious services and was ex-communicated in October 2020. A SWAT team stormed the Sredneuralsk Monastery and arrested Sergii Romanov in December 2020.

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