Father Sergii Romanov, a cleric of the Yekaterinburg diocese and former police officer who was banned from preaching by the church leadership, took the Sredneuralsk convent on Tuesday. The superior and four nuns of the complex to leave the premises, according to the diocese. Armed guards that support Sergii were seen circling the scene according to local media.
“I will not leave,” he said in a video posted on the 13th of June. A portrait of Stalin was in his background.
“You have experience, you will have to blow us out of the monastery with the police and the national guard,” he said. “I have a casket, I a cross, I’ve got the nails — I am waiting for your decision. ”
On Wednesday, the pilgrims began to flock to the convent, local media reported, with an estimate of 200 people attending the services, according to URA.RU outlet, which broadcasted live from the event.
The cleric was then isolated in a small monastery in the Sverdlovsk region, but resurfaced in May, and has intensified its fight against the coronavirus of the rhetoric in a series of videos published online.
In one of them, he said that the authorities wanted to put the Russians in a ” Satan-mail camp “, referring to tools such as electronic passes are used to implement the isolation in Russia. It has also shown that the masses will be controlled by “deadly electronic chips” and artificial intelligence, under the pretext of vaccination.
The local orthodox leadership said his sermons “do not reflect the views of the Ekaterinburg diocese,” stripped him of the right to wear a cross, and initiated judicial proceedings in an ecclesiastical court to determine its future. The local police also launched an investigation after finding that his sermons contained false information and inciting hatred.
The Sredneuralsk convent covers a large tract of land with its own farm, school and cemetery, said Ilya Shumanov, head of Transparency International in Russia. He compares it to the Vatican and has said that he enjoys relative autonomy, which could allow the priest to occupy it indefinitely.
Sergii is known for his ultra-conservative views and made a number of controversial claims in the past.
Last year, he suggested that the Antichrist would soon see the light of day in Russia in return, President Vladimir Putin, and criticized the laws against domestic violence. He also severely criticized the Ekaterinburg Orthodox leadership when he declined a project for the construction of a cathedral by a reaction of the inhabitants of the city.
Local media reported that he spent time in prison in the 1990s for robbery and murder, a request to his supporters to deny. Sergii is also hailed as the leader of the “czar-worshippers’ cult, after legally changing his name to Nikolai Romanov in honor of the last tsar of Russia, Nicholas II, who was killed with the royal family outside of Yekaterinburg in 1918.