2021-02-18 16:30:00

Former schema-monk Sergy admits giving bribe amounting to 'millions of dollars'

Moscow, February 18, Interfax - Former schema-monk Sergy (Nikolay Romanov), who was excommunicated and is now under arrest, said he had given a bribe to avoid receiving a personal taxpayer number (TIN) for the Sredneuralsky Convent.

"I had to pay several millions of dollars to avoid putting requisites on monasteries, to avoid breaching the blessing of my spiritual father Kirill," Sergy said in a statement published on his defenders' Telegram channel on Thursday.

Romanov quoted prominent Archimandrite Kirill (Pavlov), now deceased, "Today it's the TIN, tomorrow it's a card, the day after tomorrow it's the stamp of the Antichrist. Everyone is free to decide whether to get or not to get an TIN. I personally won't take it."

Sergy said he is perplexed by the fact that Hegumeness Varvara (Krygina), who previously said she would not get an TIN for the convent, has now received it.

In the meantime, the diocese called the new statement by Romanov "contradictory, as usual." "On one hand, he is quoting Archimandrite Kirill (Pavlov), who said that everyone is free to decide whether to get or not to get an TIN. But he immediately accuses Hegumeness Varvara (Krygina) of 'taking all requisites, the TIN, accounts," it said.

Essentially, the diocese is acting in the spirit of Father Kirill's words as it did not make Sergy, who was then a schema-monk, get an TIN, which he said in his statement, Hegumen Veniamin (Rainikov), secretary of the diocesan council, told Interfax.

"Judging by the astronomical amounts that Nikolay Romanov mentions when he speaks about the money he disposed of, his refusal to register the convent as a separate legal entity with bank accounts, which conducted non-cash settlements, kept official accounting, and filed reports on the use of target proceeds does not definitely look like a clean, spiritual and heroic deed," the representative of the diocese said.

Roman Silantyev, the head of the human rights center of the World Russian People's Council, which is led by the patriarch, said Romanov has fully admitted a serious crime, large-scale bribery.

"It turns out that the millions of dollars that churches sacrificed through him for the construction of churches, care for people with disabilities, the treatment of children was passed by him to some corrupt officials to cherish his TIN phobia. I hope the investigators will take this circumstance into account, will give Romanov a new prison term, and will also find out which Sverdlovsk officials helped him so 'selflessly'," Silantyev told Interfax.

On December 29, 2020, Moscow's Basmanny District Court issued an arrest warrant for former schema hegumen Sergy, who had been detained at the Sredneuralsky Convent the night before. He was charged with several criminal offenses, such as inducement to suicide, violation of the right to freedom of conscience and religion, and arbitrariness.

Sergy, who was earlier defrocked for violating his priestly oath, monastic vows, and several apostolic rules and church canons, was excommunicated by the Church on September 10, 2020. He had repeatedly said that he would not leave the Sredneuralsky Convent.