A drunk Orthodox priest has been removed from the priesthood for stabbing a monk over an alleged financial dispute near Moscow, Russian media reported.
Father Polikarp was hospitalized and Father Sebastian was taken into custody at the Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius, a 14th-century monastic center 75 kilometers north of Moscow, on Tuesday.
“They had a dispute over personal finances,” Moscow region police told the Lenta.ru news website Wednesday.
“We won’t be able to interrogate either of them. One is sleeping after surgery, the other is drunk and asleep,” the police spokeswoman said.
The Orthodox Church initially disputed reports that Father Sebastian, 61, and Father Polikarp, 62, quarreled over finances, saying he would be suspended for the duration of the police investigation.
“Father Sebastian is pious and judicious. As far as I know, he’s battling the last stages of cancer,” Sergei Bulchuk, a Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius spokesman, told the Govorit Moskva radio station.
“Perhaps a festive occasion and chemicals produced this effect. Who’s without sin?” he said.
Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Orthodox Church, later approved the decision to remove Father Sebastian from the priesthood, the monastery said on its website Thursday.