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Russian Orthodox Church imposes penance on priest who performed church service for Navalny

The Russian Orthodox Church on Wednesday imposed a penance on the priest who performed a memorial service for late opposition politician Alexey Navalny.

Dmitry Safronov, who presided on March 26 over the traditional Christian service performed on the 40th day from the date of death, was suspended from clerical duties for three years, a statement published on the website of the Moscow Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church said.

"Priest Dimitri Safronov, a cleric of the Church of the Intercession of the Holy Virgin on Lyschikova Hill in Moscow, is released from the duty of obedience, is prohibited from the priesthood for a period of three years without the right to give a blessing, wear a cassock and a priestly cross and is sent for three years to the church of St. Pimen the Great in New Collars in Moscow to perform the duties of a psalmist and fulfill those assignments which the abbot will determine for him," it said.

The statement, signed by the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, did not specify the reason for the punishment, but noted that Safronov may be reinstated.

"At the end of the term of penance, according to feedback from the place of obedience, a decision will be made on the possibility of his further priesthood," it said.


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