MOSCOW, August 5 (RIA Novosti) – Investigators have opened a criminal case into the apparent fatal stabbing of a well-known Orthodox Christian priest after his body was discovered in the northwestern Russian city of Pskov on Monday, the Investigative Committee reported.
The body of priest Pavel Adelgeim, 75, was found in his house in Pskov, investigators said, adding that a suspected killer had been detained.
Investigators said the suspect, who is reportedly from Moscow, had known the priest personally. According to Interior Ministry information, the suspect was born in 1986.
Lev Shlosberg, a Pskov Region lawmaker, said on the Dozhd TV channel that the priest had been killed by a mentally ill man who had stayed at his place for three days. Shlosberg said the killer was born in 1987.
The suspected killer had been “welcomed by Father Pavel and his wife Vera at their home upon a request from a Moscow woman they were familiar with,” the official said. “He is a mentally ill person, and maybe his acquaintances hoped Father Pavel’s word would cure his illness.”
Shlosberg said the suspect had stabbed the priest in the stomach and then stabbed himself twice.
A spokesman for Patriarch Kirill, who heads the Russian Orthodox Church, said the patriarch was mourning the priest’s death and praying for his soul.