By Kostas Onisenko
An investigation into the operational status and the accommodation of minors in the women’s convent in central Ural has been launched by the wider area of Yekaterinburg, according to the Russian BBC, following an investigation by the news network.
In particular, people who stayed at the convent as minors described to the BBC the conditions that prevailed there during their stay and the behavior of the monk Sergei Romanov, who is the spiritual father and founder of this convent.
A few days earlier, the ecclesiastical court dismissed the Great-schema monk Sergei as -according to the decision- he violated the priestly and monastic vows and contravened the sacred canons. The decision is expected to be ratified by Patriarch Kirill while Sergei has the opportunity to appeal.
The monk clashed with the head of the Russian Church after posting a video on social media last April urging people to come to church despite the ban on the pandemic, in which he referred to the leadership of the Russian church with disdain.
The Russian media reported extensively on the monk’s actions, recounting his criminal past and his connections to common criminals. He essentially occupied the Monastery he founded and has since remained there, gathering around him dozens of supporters. According to Russian media, heavily built Russian men and men who fought against the Ukrainian army in Donbass are responsible to guard the monastery.
A few days ago, the BBC published an extensive report on young people living in the monastery. According to their accounts, monk Sergei used psychological and physical violence against the minor inmates of the monastery.
Following the BBC’s revelations, the local church authorities launched an investigation into the allegations, in particular regarding the incidents of violence and the prohibition of minors from obtaining passports.
At the same time, however, there are many supporters of the monk Sergei, and the occupation of the nunnery in the Urals region has become a serious issue for the leadership of the Russian Orthodox Church.