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WSJ: Russian Church Critic & Pussy Riot Supporter Killed

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  • Nina Tkachuk Dimas
    http://blogs.wsj.com/emergingeurope/2013/08/06/russian-church-critic-and-pussy-riot-supporter-killed/   * August 6, 2013, 2:57 PM CET Russian Church Critic
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 6, 2013
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      http://blogs.wsj.com/emergingeurope/2013/08/06/russian-church-critic-and-pussy-riot-supporter-killed/
       
      * August 6, 2013, 2:57 PM CET
      Russian Church Critic and Pussy Riot Supporter Killed
      ByLukas I. Alpert

      Reuters
      PHOTO: A member of the female punk
      band “Pussy Riot”, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, looks out from a holding cell as she
      attends a court hearing to appeal for parole at the Supreme Court of Mordovia in
      Saransk, Russia, in July. Pavel Adelgeim was a supporter of the band.
      MOSCOW—An outspoken Russian Orthodox priest who had been critical of the
      church hierarchy and had voiced support for the jailed feminist punk group Pussy
      Riot has been stabbed to death in his home, police said.
       
      Pavel Adelgeim, 75 years old, was found dead late Monday from several stab
      wounds in a small town outside the northwestern city of Pskov, which sits near
      Russia’s border with Estonia.
       
      Russia’s Investigative Committee said a 27-year-old man found inside the
      priest’s home stabbed himself in the chest as police tried to detain him. He was
      hospitalized in serious condition and had to be placed on life support, so he
      hasn’t yet been questioned.
       
      Investigators offered no theories as to motive, but local lawmaker Lev
      Shlosberg told TV Rain that the man appeared to be mentally ill and Mr. Adelgeim
      and his wife had welcomed him into their home for a few days at the request of a
      friend who thought the priest could help.
      “He is a mentally ill person, and maybe his acquaintances hoped Father
      Pavel’s word would cure his illness,” Mr. Shlossberg was quoted as saying.
       
      Mr. Abdelgeim had been a religious dissident during the Soviet Union and had
      been jailed for speaking out against the Soviet regime, according to a biography
      posted on his blog. While in prison, he lost his right leg. In recent years, he
      became a vocal critic of the Russian Orthodox Church’s leadership through
      newspaper articles and through his blog.
      Last year, he came out in support of the punk group Pussy Riot as three of
      its members faced trial on hooliganism charges for staging a controversial
      performance inside Moscow’s largest cathedral criticizing the church’s ties to
      the Kremlin.
       
      The stunt infuriated the church’s leadership, but Mr. Abdelgeim was one of
      hundreds of prominent Russians who wrote a letter to Russia’s most powerful
      religious figure, Patriarch Kirill, asking for mercy.
       
      The three women were later convicted and sent to jail for two years, although
      one was later freed on appeal. In response, Mr. Abdelgeim unleashed a torrent of
      criticism against the church on his blog.
       
      “The women have unmasked the lie of the Russian Orthodox Church and its
      unnatural bond with the Russian Federation,” he wrote in one entry.

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