25 September 2020, 17:34
Russian prosecutors seeking to shut down Church of Last Testament
Krasnoyarsk, September 25, Interfax - Prosecutors in the Krasnoyarsk Territory have asked a court to shut down the Church of the Last Testament, a religious organization also known as the Community of Vissarion.
"The Krasnoyarsk Territory Prosecutor's Office conducted an inspection of the Church of the Last Testament's local cell in Kuragino, which revealed facts attesting to the presence of grounds for its liquidation by a court," the Russian Prosecutor General's Office said in a statement on Friday.
During the inspection, experts also found proof that the organization's materials "contain doctrinal recommendations restricting the right to life, the right to freedom and privacy, freedom of conscience, the right to protect family, motherhood, and childhood, to education, and the right to healthcare and medical assistance."
"Experts have concluded that Vissarion's teachings allow the recognition of deviant behavior, in particular suicide and the non-provision of medical assistance, stimulation of addictive behavior, sexual behavioral disorders, and disregard for the established norms of marriage," the statement said.
Prosecutors also found instances of the mental health of adepts being harmed by suppressing their attempts to express their own thoughts, desires, needs, and aspirations under threat of social condemnation, the formation of an entrenched sense of guilt, and expulsion from the community.
According to prosecutors, the operation of the community threatens the interests of the public and the state, encroaches on individual, civic rights and liberties, and risks causing damage to morality and public health.
Following the inspection, prosecutors filed a lawsuit with the Krasnoyarsk Territory Court asking it to close the Church of the Last Testament and strike it off the register of legal entities.
The Church of the Last Testament was founded in the Krasnoyarsk Territory in 1991 by a local resident, Sergey Torop, who referred to himself as Vissarion. In 1995, the organization was given its current name and registered with the Justice Ministry. The adherents of the movement also refer to themselves as the Community of Vissarion and live in several populated areas in the Kuragino District.
Torop and two other leaders, Vadim Redkin and Vladimir Vedernikov, were arrested on September 21. They are due to be charged with forming a religious group whose operation involves violence against citizens and inflicting grievous harm to the health of two or more people.