2013-06-14 10:02:00

Man goes on the rampage in Moscow church

Moscow, June 14, Interfax - A man rushed into one of Moscow's Orthodox churches and during a worship service on Thursday and went on the rampage inside the building before being sent by police to a psychiatric hospital for a forensic test, said an Orthodox activist.

"The man, who, according to preliminary information, is a native of Tajikistan, burst into the church during a service and started smashing down all that got in his way, savagely crying out anti-Christian slogans and insulting all those present," Yury Ageshchev, coordinator of the Union of Orthodox Fraternities and assistant for missionary work to the chief priest of the Church of the Assembly of Moscow Saints, told the Interfax-Religion.

Cossacks guarding the building and members of the congregation seized the man and police were quick to arrive. The troublemaker was sent off to a psychiatric hospital for a sanity test, Ageshchev said.

The church's dean is Hegumen Sergy (Rybko), a well-known missionary. According to the Krestovsky Most newspaper, last year he wrote instructions for his congregation on handling potential vandalism.

"Due to increasingly frequent attacks on churches and desecrations of Orthodox holy sites, please pay attention to suspicious visitors. Take immediate measures if they intend to commit any outrage, steal icons or relics, or, worst of all, to get onto the ambo or into the altar," Father Sergy said in a notice put up at the church entrance.

Members of the congregation should loudly cry for help, find security guards, and themselves try to stop the offenders, the priest insisted. He even blessed the use of violence for the purpose. Fr. Sergy put out Cossack security guards at the entrance to the church premises and had surveillance cameras installed there.