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Russian Orthodox Church head suspends priest who led memorial service for Alexey Navalny

Source: Meduza

The head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, has imposed a three-year suspension on the priest who held a memorial service at Alexey Navalny’s grave in late March. Priest Dmitry Safronov, a cleric of the Church of the Intercession of the Holy Virgin on Lyschikova Hill in Moscow, is now forbidden from giving blessings, wearing the frock, and bearing the church’s priestly cross until 2027, at which time his future in the clergy will be reassessed, Patriarch Kirill decreed. The Patriarch’s order does not explain why he suspended Safronov from conducting services.

Safronov led the memorial service 40 days after Navalny’s death, observing a religious rite of major significance in Eastern Orthodox Christianity. Even before the funeral, Safronov publicly called on the state authorities to release Navalny’s body to Navalny’s mother as officials dithered for nine days about relinquishing the dead politician’s remains. Additionally, according to reports on an anonymously run Telegram channel, Safronov has refused to read the church’s war-themed “Prayer for the Victory of Holy Rus,” despite orders from the Moscow Diocese.

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