Suspect held in Russian priest killing

| May 7, 2010

CHEBOKSARY, Russia, May 6 (UPI) — Police in the Russian republic of Chuvashia held a 22-year-old man in the killing of a priest, an investigation spokesman said Thursday.

The unidentified suspect is a resident of Novocheboksarsk, a city on the southern bank of the Volga River about 2 miles from the Chuvashian capital Cheboksary, police quoted by RIA Novosti said.

The unidentified priest, who was also a monk from the Russian Orthodox St. Michael the Archangel Church in Cheboksary, was found dead in his home Wednesday with multiple knife wounds, police said.

He was the second priest killed in Chuvashia in two weeks.

On April 24, a priest identified as Father Anatoly, 46, was discovered dead with a gunshot wound at his church in the eastern Chuvashia village of Yantikovo. Police later detained a 47-year-old man with a history of mental illness in the killing.

Investigators said they had no links between the two cases, the Russian news agency reported.

Chuvashia, located in the center of the European part of Russia, in the heart of the Volga-Vyatka region, is the homeland of the Chuvash people, a Turkic-speaking ethnic group whose members mostly belong to the Russian Orthodox Church.

In November, the Rev. Daniil Sysoyev of St. Thomas's Church in southern Moscow was shot dead by a masked gunman.

Sysoyev was known for his active missionary work in converting Muslims and members of religious sects to Christianity. His assistant was badly wounded in the attack.

The killing stirred a wave of condemnation from religious groups in Russia and demands for better security for the clergy.

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Category: Church Security

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