Arrest of an Orthodox priest in Russia for condemning the invasion of Ukraine in a sermon

[Update: March 11, the court sentenced him to pay a fine of 35 rubles (about 237 euros)]

Ioann Burdin, a Russian Orthodox priest, was arrested last week after denouncing the Russian invasion of Ukraine in a sermon. He is to be heard in court on Thursday. 

Un bbc report, which quotes Russian activists, reveals that Russian Orthodox priest Ioann Burdin was accused of "discrediting the use of the armed forces" in a sermon. His sermon included, among other things, descriptions of the attacks inflicted on Ukraine by the Russian army.

He was arrested last week following his sermon delivered to the small congregation at his church in the village of Karabanovo.

The name of the priest also appears on the open letter signed by more than 280 Russian Orthodox priests and deacons published last week, in which they called for reconciliation and an immediate ceasefire.

Ioann Burdin, whose church is in the western Russian village of Karabanovo, also allegedly shared anti-war images and a petition on the church's website reports Religion News Service (RNS).

RNS says he contacted Andrey Kordochkin, a Russian Orthodox priest from Madrid, by text message, who confirmed to them that the Ioann Burdin who had signed the open letter was indeed the one who had been arrested. He added that the cleric will be heard in court on Thursday.

According to him, the Russian priest currently incurs fines but no prison sentence. However, he added that he was “concerned” that the state would make this “call for peace a criminal offence”.

Camille Westphal Perrier

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