Priest storms convent with armed gang claiming coronavirus is ‘pseudo-pandemic’ – Latest News

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The men are reportedly veterans of the conflict in Ukraine.

Father Sergei Romanov, together with a group of armed cossacks, began his occupation of the Sredneuralsk convent outside the city of Yekaterinburg on Tuesday.

Father Sergei Romanov began his occupation of the Sredneuralsk convent on Tuesday after saying church leaders were “working with the forerunners of the Anti-Christ”

The mother superior and nuns have left the convent ‘in order to avoid unnecessary strife’

Romanov is a leader of an Orthodox religious cult of ‘tsar worshippers’

Sergius was suspended from preaching after a video of him urging believers not to obey the state

Believers gather at the Sredneuralsky Convent

The priest told him: ”The diocese forbids me to serve, forbids me to speak. But I was blessed to speak.”

A controversial Russian priest has taken over a convent after claiming that the coronavirus pandemic was a hoax and church leaders were “working with the forerunners of the Anti-Christ”.

Father Sergei was a police officer before becoming a priest and spent 13 years in a prison colony after being convicted of murder – a conviction his followers dispute.

Journalists have been forbidden from entering the convent, but a reporter from Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta managed to get past the guards and spoke to Father Sergei.

Speaking top a church court about the convent, Romanov said: “I will not leave the house of the mother of God.”

Father Sergei legally changed his name to Nikolai Romanov, in honour of the last Tsar of Russia. He’s regarded as the figurehead of a neo-royalist movement within the Russian church.

Police visited the site earlier this week but made no arrests.

He added: “My heart is calm, my conscience does not reproach me. They, that is the clergy, Metropolitan Kirill, will have to take the monastery by storm.”

He has criticised laws against domestic violence and made antisemitic references in his sermons as well as describing the Covid-19 outbreak as a “pseudo-pandemic.”

The priest, who has ministered to several Russian sports stars and politicians, has made a number of shockingly controversial pronouncements.

There are concerns Russia may be covering up the true death toll.

Official figures put the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in Russia at 568,292 and the death toll close to 8,000.

Dzhamaludin Gadzhiibragimov, the regional health minister in Dagestan, said in May while 29 people had officially died of Covid-19 in the southern region, there had been 657 people who are listed as having died from pneumonia.

The mother superior and nuns have left the convent ‘in order to avoid unnecessary strife’ (Image: Donat Sorokin/TASS)

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