2021-01-15 16:49:00

Arrested former schema-monk Sergy ends his hunger strike

Moscow, January 15, Interfax - Former schema-monk Sergy (Nikolay Romanov), arrested on charges of inducement to suicide, has ended the dry strike he went on earlier.

"He told us he ended his 18 day hunger strike and he would already be eating food and drinking water today," Marina Litvinovich, a member of the Public Monitoring Commission, told Interfax.

The former schema-monk is well and energetic, she said.

His lawyer Svetlana Gerasimova told Interfax that her client was fasting.

"It was a fast; we met with Father Sergy today and talked. [...] With the blessing of the elders from the Mount Athos, he is ending his obedience of fasting and starting to sip water little by little today," the lawyer said.

She also said that the former schema-monk is well.

There have been no examinations and investigative actions so far during Romanov's incarceration in the Matrosskaya Tishina jail, she said.

The ex-monk went on a hunger strike after his arrest. He said that he strongly disagrees with the measure of restraint imposed on him.

The Basmanny District Court earlier sanctioned Romanov's arrest until February 28.

His defense team has already appealed the court ruling, and the Moscow City Court is expected to hear the appeal against the arrest soon.

The former schema-monk is charged with several criminal offenses such as inducement to suicide, violation of the right to freedom of conscience and religion and arbitrariness.

According to the Russian Investigative Committee, Romanov publically urged at least ten nuns residing in the convent he occupied to kill themselves.

"Subsequently, while being aware that his calls may be perceived by an inexplicitly extensive audience and result in consequences dangerous to the public, [he] posted a video recording of his speech containing the signs of inducing believers to commit suicide under the pretense of the religious ideology of Christianity on the Internet," the Investigative Committee said.

The former schema-monk denied any wrongdoing.

Former schema-monk Sergy, who was earlier stripped of his religious orders for violating his priestly oath, monastic vows, and several apostolic rules and church canons, was excommunicated by the Church on September 10, 2020. He has repeatedly said that he was not going to leave the Sredneuralsk Convent.

The police detained Romanov at the monastery on December 29, 2020.