By Kostas Onisenko
The excommunicated from the Russian Church schema-monk Sergei (known as Nikolai Romanov), inaugurated a Holy Temple inside the convent of the Central Ural, of which he is the founder.
The excommunicated monk has remained in the monastery for the last few months, as long as his dispute with the Russian Church lasts. The abbess of the monastery left while the relevant Diocese has stated that all the ceremonies performed by Sergei are invalid.
On October 6, it became known that criminal charges had been pressed against him for allegedly torturing children in the monastery.
According to the data of the research, in the period 2004 – 2019, unknown persons “driven by a wrong perception of the process of raising minors” caused physical and psychological tortures to the children living in the monastery.
According to Russian media, these are seven children who were abused, four of whom were there without the knowledge of their parents or guardians. At the same time, a civil court fined the former schema monk $ 1,150 (90,000 rubles) for spreading false information and $ 230 (18,000 rubles) for inciting hatred. The fines relate to his statements which have been broadcasted via YouTube.
In particular, the schema monk Sergei, who still seems to exercise substantial control over the monastery, came to the centre of public attention when he turned against the Russian church leadership last summer, sharply criticizing the restrictions on religious sites due to COVID-19. After a series of ecclesiastical courts, Sergei was removed from his duties and then he was excommunicated. The same sources point out that during this process the metropolis received complaints from eyewitnesses who claimed to have witnessed acts of violence against children.
The question remains whether similar allegations or suspicions have existed in all previous years, when the monastery operated within the body of the Russian Church and whether the specific revelations (if confirmed) serve as an occasion to check the operation of other monasteries where minors are hosted.