Moscow, July 14, Interfax - Some of the public remarks made by the Ural-based schema monk Sergy (Romanov) foment hatred not only toward the Jewish community, but also toward the Russian people, on whose behalf he pretends to speak, Boruch Gorin, spokesperson for the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia, said in a statement published on the website of the Lechaim magazine.
"All these statements are not only anti-Semitic, but also the worst kind of Russophobia. What must one think of Russians if he asserts absolutely seriously that a bunch of Jews can direct and manipulate them?" Gorin said.
Father Sergy has attacked members of the Hasidic movement Chabad especially vigorously, but such "groundless accusations" have been spread for decades, he said.
"None of the accusers have been able to present any real facts to uphold their words during this time. We see yet another conspiracy theory here, whose creators don't care very much, if they care at all, about its consistency with any real facts," Gorin said.
The problem of such invectives is that a lot of people, confused and disoriented by the current situation, including the coronavirus epidemic and the looming economic crisis, look for simple answers to the questions 'Who's to blame?' and 'What is to be done?,' he said.
"And words said by a clergyman (and clerics in Russia are still very much trusted) could be interpreted as an instruction and could translate into vandalism or direct attacks on 'enemies,' namely Jewish people or those who would be taken for Jewish people," Gorin said.
In his last published video, Romanov blessed Ukrainian anti-Semite Eduard Khodos, who is notorious for publishing relevant literature and videos, he said.
As reported earlier, a public sermon in which Father Sergy dismissed the Covid-19 pandemic as a myth and called for disobedience to senior clergy and the authorities earlier drew outcry on social networks and in the media. Father Sergy also cursed those who temporarily closed churches during the pandemic and warned of the creation of "Satan's electronic camp."
Another video message from Father Sergy was published later, in which he calls for reopening churches and warns of the danger of microchipping people, which would allegedly prove to be fatal to most people.
The anti-extremism center at the Interior Ministry department for the Sverdlovsk Region later concluded that Father Sergy's actions might have involved signs of an administrative offence.
The Ecclesiastical Court for the Yekaterinburg Diocese ruled on July 3 to find Father Sergy guilty of violating his monastic vows and his ministerial oath and defrocked him.