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PSKOV, August 8 (Itar-Tass) - Right Reverend Pavel Adelgeim, a Russian Orthodox parish priest in the northwestern city of Pskov who was stabbed to death Monday by a suspected young Satan worshiper, has been buried at a cemetery not far from the Church of the Saint Myrrh-Carrying Women where he was father superior for the past few years.
Several hundred people gathered in and around the church to pay last respects to the priest, who enjoyed broad popularity as a preacher.
Many people, including a number of clergymen, came from Moscow to attend the solemn ceremony.
“People with bouquets of flowers kept coming to the church from the small hours of morning through to late night Wednesday to pay tribute to the late priest, who was lying in state there,” priest Sergei Ivanov, the newly appointed father superior of the church told Itar-Tass.
The funeral service itself was held in the street outside the small church that did not have enough room for everyone who had come to bid the final farewell to Father Pavel.
After the service, a message of condolences by Metropolitan Eusebius of Pskov and Velikiye Luki was read out.
Pavel Adelgeim was born in 1938 in the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don into a family of ethnic Germans. His father and grandfather were executed by shooting during Joseph Stalin’s purges.
He became a novice at the world-famous Laura /highest-rank monastery/ of the Caves in Kiev at the age of sixteen and was ordained to priesthood in 1964.
Later on in his career, he was sentenced to three years in jail for disseminating illegally published religious literature and ‘libel against Soviet government’. While in prison, he lost his right leg.
Father Pavel became a clergyman of the Pskov diocese in 1976. The parishioners of the churches where he held office praised him as an outstanding missionary and preacher who remained committed to the cause of the Eastern Orthodox faith in spite of all the confusions life put him to grapple with.
Charges with killing the Rt Rev Adelgeim have been issued to Sergei Pchelintsev, 27, a resident of Moscow and a recent graduate of the State University of Cinematography /VGIK/.
Mass media reports, including news stories on central TV channels, suggested that Pchelintsev is a Satan worshiper. It was claimed that he stabbed the priest in the chest with a knife crying out exclamations about the duty entrusted to him by Satan.
“The data available to investigators indicates that the man came to Pskov to ask for Father Pavel Adelgeim’s assistance in ridding himself of a disease, since he knew that Father Pavel was an acclaimed theologian,” Anton Dobrokhotov, a spokesman for the Pskov region Investigations Committee told Itar-Tass.
“Father Pavel agreed to help him out of a sense of mercy and gave him accommodation in his private house,” Dobrokhotov said.
“August 5, Pchelintsev grabbed a knife during an attack of hallucinations and stabbed the priest right in the heart,” he said.