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Public Chamber to monitor Pskov region cleric murder probe

August 06, 2013, 16:54 UTC+3

The priest's body was found with stab wounds at his house in Pskov on August 5

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MOSCOW, August 6 (Itar-Tass) - The Russian Public Chamber said on Tuesday it would monitor the inquiry into the murder of archpriest Pavel Adelgeim.The priest's body was found with stab wounds at his house in Krasnogorsky Street, Pskov, on August 5, where the Church of Konstantin and Yelena is located. Police detained a 27-year-old Moscow resident suspected of the crime. He had stabbed himself and was taken to hospital.

"We're taking the situation under public control and will watch the investigation into the murder," chairman of the Public Chamber's commission for ethnic relations and freedom of conscience Nikolai Svanidze said.

Commission member Metropolitan Nikon of Ufa and Sterlitamak said "the archpriest's murder is not just sad news, it's a tragedy".

This was the second murder of a priest in two years, and it caused indignation, the cleric said. "Our laws do not protect clerics' lives, not only those of orthodox faith, but also of other religions,The law protecting believers' feelings has been approved, but in actual fact, it does not protect from Satanists and sect members who have stepped up their activities lately, attacking churches, desecrating sacred things," he added.

Metroplitan Nikon urged law-enforcement to thoroughly investigate the murder. "Our Public Chamber Commission will examine the causes of the tragedy in order to give recommendations on how to avert such crimes," he added.

"The priest let the young man live in his house at the request of a woman from Moscow," regional legislator Lev Shlosberg said, "During a conversation in the kitchen, the guest grabbed a knife and stabbed Father Pavel in the stomach, whereupon he stabbed himself and was rushed to hospital."

Pavel Adelgeim, who marked his 75th birthday on August 1, became a priest in Soviet times. He had been a Pskov episcopate cleric since 1976.

Pskov region governor Andrei Turchak called the tragedy "a terrible crime." "It's a challenge to society, a mockery of the very principles of morals and faith," Turchak said.

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