MOSCOW, August 7 (Itar-Tass) - Priest Pavel Adelgeim, 75 - a dissident, theologian and a regular critic of the Russian Orthodox Church, known not only in Russia, but also abroad was killed at his home in Pskov on Monday evening. Father Pavel was stabbed by 27-year-old cameraman Sergei Pchelintsev who came to him for spiritual help.
“The body of the murdered priest with stab wounds was found at about 20:00, Monday, in the house of Father Pavel, writes the Moskovsky Komsomolets newspaper. The day before, Sergei Pchelintsev, 27, came to Archpriest Pavel Adelgeim on a visit. The man came seeking cure of his mental disorders, diagnosed in him earlier. The muscovite lived with the priest for three days. His father came after him, urging his son to see a doctor, but he literally begged: “Dad, please don’t lock me in a mental hospital.” The young man explained that he was going to get married, and before that he needs to “get rid of the influence of dark forces.”
Sergei got better and he did not want to leave, however, his father had already bought train tickets to Moscow, the Kommersant daily writes. On the way home Pchelintsev Jr. escaped and returned on another train to Pskov. He got to Father Pavel’s house just before dinner.
The tragedy occurred when Pavel Adelgeim was engaged in a conversation with Pchelintsev at the table in the living room. The priest once again explained to the young man that only God will heal him. At some point Pchelintsev Jr. suddenly jumped up, ran to the kitchen where he grabbed a knife and suddenly stabbed Father Pavel in the heart. After that he tried to commit suicide, stabbing himself several times with a knife before detention. The wounded attacker underwent a surgery on Tuesday, but because of his serious condition he could not be interrogated.
Archpriest Pavel Adelgeim was known as a critic of the secular government and church leadership. First he suffered for his beliefs in 1959, when he was expelled from the Kiev Seminary for political reasons. Ten years later, he was arrested for distributing religious samizdat literature. In 1970, he was sentenced to three years in labor camps “for slandering the Soviet system.” In the colony Father Pavel became disabled, having lost a leg. Since 1976, he has served in the Pskov diocese. Until February 22, 2008, Father Pavel was head of the Holy Myrrh-Bearers Cathedral in Pskov, where an asylum for orphans with disabilities was opened in 1993.
Father Pavel opposed the adoption of the Law “On the Protection of Religious Feelings,” the Kommersant daily writes. During the trial of the Pussy Riot girl’s punk band he called for forgiving the band members and was against their conviction.
Meanwhile, church leaders say that “the last righteous man” has died and do not believe that it was an accidental killing, the Novye Izvestia newspaper writes. Many recalled Father Pavel’s harsh criticism of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC).
The newspaper’s sources note that Pavel Adelgeim has “often acted against the system,” which is why he often had conflicts with the local diocese. Bachelor of Theology Priest Denis Batarchuk told the newspaper that Adelgeim was “a real righteous man, a man with no hidden agenda,” he fought for the right to preserve the church community in the traditional way and opposed the official policy of the ROC.
In recent years, Paul Adelgeim has repeatedly sharply criticized the hierarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church. Adelgeim wrote in 2002 “The doctrine of the church canons and practice,” for which Metropolitan of Pskov Eusebius called him “a servant of Satan” and condemned the book ay the Diocesan Assembly. Also, in contrast to many church leaders, Pavel Adelgeim defended the Pussy Riot band members and harshly criticized the law to toughen liability for insulting the feelings of believers. The Pskov preacher is known for his statements against the priests, who are chasing privileges and do not understand that they are “bartering the diamond for tinsel.”