Thursday, December 02, 2004

Harrassment of ROAC Clergy at the Behest of the MP Continues in Trestna

(Vertograd, Tver): On October 9, the Moscow Patriarchate's Dean of the Tver Diocese arrived at the home of Hiermonk Sergei (Mironov), rector of the Joy of All Who Sorrow Parish (ROAC) in Trestna (Tver region), accompanied by two priests, several women and a pair of militia men. As Hieromonk Sergei was travelling at the time, they instead addressed the hieromonk's mother in a rough manner with demands, claiming that according to the recent "report" of MP Archbishop Victor on the Eparchial assembly of October 29, that Fr. Sergei was deprived of his registration to operate within the region.

Officially it was also declared that there would be "no parishes, except parishes of the MP" and that registration was not valid unless confirmed by the local MP Archbishop (which is false). The "delegation" then visited a local administrator's home and, calling her a "lost sheep", threatened to have her removed from her post if she did not comply with the Patriarchate's orders. They then explained she would soon understand what would happen if they did not comply and hand over the parish to the MP, and that they would have to send over "criminal authorities".

It is not the first case known of pressure on Fr. Sergei by Tver diocesan clergy of the MP; already they had threatened sending such "authorities" over for a visit.

The Church in Tresna received official registration on the 20 of July, and on October 7, received a church-building to work with from the local authorities to use as a youth center. All the work Fr Sergei has done has been without compensation, whereas the local MP priests are known to charge even for distributing holy water and Paschal willows in the area. Thus their motivation is clear in their sudden interest in a young, fair and committed priest in Tresna who is now operating on their "turf".