Twenty-six Orthodox priests murdered since 1990, including 39-year-old Alexander Filippov on Tuesday
The second murder of a Russian priest in as many months has prompted a call by the Orthodox Church for Russians to think about their country’s spiritual and moral condition. The killings follow more violence this year directed against Muslim clerics in Russia’s troubled Caucasus region.
Tuesday’s shooting death of 39-year-old priest Alexander Filippov is alleged to be the act of two intoxicated men in the village of Satino-Russkoye near Moscow. His widow is quoted as saying Filippov had reproached the suspects for relieving themselves at the entrance of their apartment building.
The head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, called Filippov a bright and clean-living individual who leaves behind three daughters.
Kirill says the priest was killed because he was not indifferent to disgusting human behavior and took a principled stand against it in accordance with his calling.
The Interfax News Agency says a total of 26 Orthodox priests have been murdered in Russia since 1990. Many others have been assaulted. They include Vitaly Zubkov, who was kicked and beaten last month, just days after the murder of his friend, Father Daniil Sysoyev in Moscow. Sysoyev had received death threats for his outspoken criticism of Islam and attempts to convert Muslims to Christianity.
News reports quote Orthodox Church Spokesman Vladimir Legoida as saying that recent events show Russians must think of the spiritual and moral situation they live in.
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