YEKATERINBURG, December 29. /TASS/. Father Sergiy, a former Russian monk who denied the coronavirus existence and took control of a women’s monastery in the Urals, has been detained and is being questioned, a source in the law enforcement agencies told TASS.
"The law enforcement agencies are carrying out an investigation at the Sredneuralsk monastery. Romanov [Father Sergiy] has been detained for questioning," the source said.
Father Sergiy will be sent to Moscow. "Yes, there are plans to send him to Moscow," the source said.
The former monk was detained after posting a video on YouTube encouraging his followers "to die for Russia," according to the source. Father Sergiy was twice fined for inciting hatred and hostility and spreading fake socially important information during his sermons. In particular, he called on people to go to church despite the lockdown and described the coronavirus situation as a "fake pandemic."
Some media reports claimed that in 1986 Romanov was sentenced to 13 years in colony for burglary and murdering a school teacher. After walking free, he became a monk.
Father Sergiy was suspended by the church leadership in late May 2020 after violating a ban on sermons. He was ordered to leave the women’s monastery, but he continued holding church services there. The church leadership has described the situation as a takeover. On September 10, a church court defrocked Father Sergiy and the head of the Russian Orthodox Church confirmed this decision on October 19.