The court in St. Petersburg sentenced hieromonk Ioann Kurmoyarov to three years in prison on charges of so-called fakes about the Russian army. This was reported by the correspondent of Sever.Realia. The accusation demanded seven years in prison for the priest.
Kurmoyarov spent more than a year in the St. Petersburg pre-trial detention center. The criminal case was initiated because of videos on YouTube, in which the priest discussed the actions of the Russian army in Ukraine from the point of view of Christianity.
“The peacekeepers will be in heaven, you understand? And the one who unleashed aggression will not be in heaven, even if you resist,” said the priest in particular, analyzing Vladimir Putin’s phrase “We will go to heaven as martyrs, and they will simply die.”
In court, 55-year-old Kurmoyarov pleaded guilty and stated that he deleted the publications at the request of Roskomnadzor. He explained his statements by the fact that he was traumatized by the thought that “Orthodox people are participating and suffering” on both sides of the war in Ukraine.
- In the summer of 2022, the hieromonk of the Novosibirsk Russian Orthodox Church, John Kurmoyarov, was detained in St. Petersburg and charged under the criminal article of publicly disseminating false information about the use of the Russian armed forces. The case was initiated on the basis of a video from Kurmoyarov’s YouTube channel entitled “Who will be in hell, and who will be in heaven?”, dedicated to the invasion of Ukraine.
- Previously, Kurmoyarov gained fame due to public criticism of the main temple of the Russian Armed Forces in the Patriot Park near Moscow. In the summer of 2020, after criticizing this church, the metropolitan banned Kurmoyarov from serving “due to his ineligibility for the title of cleric of the Russian Orthodox Church” and “until all circumstances of inappropriate behavior are clarified.”
- In December 2021, Kurmoyarov wrote a statement to the Investigative Committee on Sergei Shoigu with a request to hold the Minister of Defense accountable for insulting religious sentiments. The priest believes that the murals with the image of Red Army soldiers and communist symbols in the temple of the Ministry of Defense offend the feelings of believers.
- In February 2022, Kurmoyarov published an open letter demanding that the Minister of Defense remove communist symbols from the church. In March, the Ministry of Defense responded that they do not consider these images offensive, moreover, they are allegedly a reflection of an already existing religious tradition.
- Since June last year, the priest has been in a pre-trial detention center. He complained about the poor conditions of detention there. According to Kurmoyarov, he and other detainees were not taken to the shower for several weeks allegedly due to the lack of hot water. Taking into account the time spent in pre-trial detention center, he should be released in about an hour.
- According to the article about “fakes”, Kurmoyarov was threatened with up to ten years in prison. However, sentences not related to deprivation of liberty were also handed down under this article.