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  • Nikolaj
    ANNOUNCEMENT FROM KRASNOYARSK DIOCESE from Press Service of Department for External Church Relations 23 March 2000 On the occasion of the ritual murder of
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 31, 2000
      from Press Service of Department for External Church Relations
      23 March 2000

      On the occasion of the ritual murder of monastic priest Grigory (secular name Gennady Mikhailovich Yakovlev).

      He was born 3 October 1949 in the city of Bodaibo of Irkutsk province. After eight years of schooling he finished the Angara technical institute in 1968 and then served in the navy from 1969 to 1972. Then he graduated in history at Odessa State University in 1978. The same year he received holy baptism and began attending the church in Barnaul. He became an acolyte in the church of saints Peter and Paul in the city of Anzhero-Sudzhensk of the Kemerovo diocese.

      Then from 1981 to 1982 he served a novitiate in the Pokrov church in Tobolsk and was a psalmist from January 1983 in the Dormition church in Yeniseisk. On 12 December 1986 he was ordained a deacon and on 13 December of the same year, a priest. From 5 June 1987 he was rector of the St. Nicholas church in the village of Listvianka, Irkutsk province. From 1 May 1988 he was personal secretary of the archbishop of Irkutsk. On 5 May 1994 he was entrusted with the shipment from Moscow of the casket of St. Innokenty of Irkutsk. He was in our diocese from January 1995 in the monastery of the Holy Transfiguration, where he became a monk on 26 March of that year.

      He was the rector in the house of prayer in the city of Tura (Evenkia) from 4 November 1997. It was here that he was murdered by Roman Krishnits, a member of the sect of Krishna Consciousness with whom he was acquainted. Krishnits declared that he did this "on ordered of the guru of Krishna." The ritual nature of the murder is indicated by the following: a stabbing with a sharp dagger in the heart and neck, and then beheading with a knife, following by its procession around the sanctuary in the church and placement on the altar.

      We consider that this tragedy is the result of the extensive publicity in the mass media of all kinds of pseudoreligion, a return to the wild pagan cults of satanism, and the cultivation of the idea of polytheism of a new form under the name of Christ which is now being promoted in contradiction to sober thought and the holy scriptures, which forbids the division of the one faith given by God into all kinds of inventions of charlatans and religious pluralism.

      May the Lord receive the soul of God's servant, the monastic priest Grigory Yakovlev into his heavenly dwelling, as a true son of the Orthodox church, forgiving him all his transgressions through his martyr's death. (tr. by PDS)

      by Andrei Zolotov

      MOSCOW, March 24, 2000 (ENI) -- Church authorities in the Russian Orthodox diocese of Krasnoyarsk in Siberia, more than 3000 kilometres east of Moscow, have condemned the ritualistic murder of a local priest, and blamed his death on the rise of cults in Russia.

      "We see the tragedy as a consequence of extensive advertising of all sorts of pseudo-religiousness, and the return to the wild pagan cults of satanism and the cultivation of new types of polytheism," the church declared in a statement.

      The statement was issued following reports of the death of 50-year-old Hieromonk Grigory, the Orthodox priest in charge of a chapel, located in his house in the Siberian town of Tura.

      Police Colonel Ivan Panov, chief of the Evenk District Police Department, told ENI by telephone that at 3 am on Tuesday, 21 March, a man entered the priest's house. He then stabbed Hieromonk Grigory (whose lay name was Gennady Yakovlev) in the chest and neck, then cut off his head with a pocket knife. The murderer, who later told police his name was Roman Krishnin, carried the severed head round the altar in the chapel, leaving a circle of blood on the floor, and then placed it on top of the altar.

      Roman was detained later the same day and confessed to the murder, according to the police.

      "He said he had had an order from his god Krishna," Panov said. The case is now being investigated by the Prosecutor's Office of the district of Evenk, in the Krasnoyarsk region.

      Panov said that the killer's identity could not be officially confirmed, but police believed he had arrived in Tura 18 months ago from the Tyumen region, 1000 kilometres away, where he grew up in a family of hunters. He had no identity papers.

      Panov added that the priest knew his murderer.

      "Father Grigory, the kind soul, may he rest in peace, had taken him in, given him shelter, [and] he [Roman] lived in his [the priest's] house for a long time," the police chief said. "They had arguments about faith." Panov said the murder did not appear to be connected to robbery or any other common crime.

      The police chief also suspects that Roman assumed the last name Krishnin in recognition of the Hindu god Krishna. But Panov said he found it difficult to believe that Roman was a follower of the Hare Krishna group, which worships Krishna and has world-wide membership. "I read about this faith, they don't teach violence. He is more likely to be some sort of satanist."

      In Moscow Russian Hare Krishnas have expressed deep concern about press reports declaring that the murderer belonged to their organisation. They said they feared these reports could ignite hostility between religious groups.

      Sergei Zuyev, chairman of the board of the Centre of Krishna Consciousness Societies in Russia, issued a statement on 23 March denying that Roman had ever been a member or employee of the organisation. The statement stressed that the group's teaching "excludes any violence not only towards men, but also towards animals".

      Zuyev has flown to Krasnoyarsk to investigate the case.

      Svetlana Valerieva, a journalist in Tura who was present when police first questioned Roman, told ENI in a telephone interview that Roman was a strong young man who did not appear insane. "In my opinion he is a normal man who expresses himself well," Valerieva said. "He said that he had to purify himself, and killed Father Grigory for the good of others."

      Both Valerieva and Panov said Tura - an impoverished town of about 6000 residents - was in deep shock. Many people stood outside the chapel on 22 March as Orthodox clergy from Krasnoyarsk held a memorial service. The burial is to be held today, 24 March.

      Hieromonk Grigory had set up the local parish, the police chief said. "Now, with his death, he is turning our town to God."

      Deacon Dmitry Streletsky, who works at the Krasnoyarsk diocesan office of the Russian Orthodox Church, told ENI that Hieromonk Grigory was a "mild, delicate and benevolent man".

      Published by ENI News Service, March 24, 2000

      (posted 28 March 2000)

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