18 August 2009, 15:38
Pskov Diocese pronounces anathema on journalist
Pskov, August 18, Interfax - The Diocesan Council of the Pskov Diocese has decided to excommunicate journalist Oleg Dementyev from the Church.
Such a radical decision was made "due to a continuous heinous slander and satanical lies against the resident nuns of the Spaso-Yeleazarov Monastery, and, in particular, abbess Yelisaveta (Belyayeva)," the Diocese said in a statement on its website.
"By trampling on the honor and dignity of our country's citizens, the society that he is part of, by his heinous slander Oleg Dementyev dared to tarnish the good memory of our ancestors who were cloistered in the Spaso-Yeleazarov Monastery during the pre-revolution period," the statement said.
The monastery filed a slander lawsuit with the Pskov town court of arbitration. On April 14, 2009 the court found Dementyev guilty. The court ruled that the information published by the journalist in the media, tarnishing the reputation of the Spaso-Yeleazarov monastery and its residents, was untrue.
The Church was criticizing Dementyev's article titled "A wasp nest under the golden domes" published in the January 14-20, 2008 issue of the Pskovsky Rubezh newspaper and the Pravda newspaper issue N5 of 2008.
The anathema decision was made under the "Foundations of the social concept of the Russian Orthodox Church," which says, in particular, that the head of any particular diocese can inflict a canonical punishment on a person "who blasphemes under God's name, uses other forms of blasphemy, and systematically and deliberately misrepresents the ecclesiastic life and knowingly defames the Church and its servants."
A person who has been anathematized may not participate in church's sacrament, is not entitled to burial rituals or be buried at an Orthodox cemetery after his death.