Hieromonk IONA (SIGIDA), Orthodox Church of Russia (Slavyansk-on-Kuban, Russia)

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Hieromonk Iona (Sigida)

Hieromonk Iona (Ilya Sigida) is an assistant to the Archbishop of Slavyanskiy and South Russia of the Rossiiskaya Orthodox Church (not part of the Moscow Patriarchate), Victor (Pivovarov). His place of residence is the church of the Intercession (Svyato-Pokrovsko-Tikhonovskiy) in Slovyansk-on-Kuban. Hieromonk published antiwar articles and articles criticizing the Moscow Patriarchate, Vladimir Putin and the church of the Ministry of Defense. On 5 May 2023, the Novaya Gazeta published a large report about the life and antiwar views of the leaders of the Orthodox community to which Hieromonk Iona belongs. The community does not belong to the Moscow Patriarchate.
On the morning of 3 October 2023, when Hieromonk Iona was asleep and Archbishop Victor (Pivovarov) was in the church, the security forces with machine guns burst into the church. They attacked Hieromonk, and twisted him on the floor face down; one pressed him to the floor with the knee on the back with such force that Hieromonk began to choke. He said that during the detention he was beaten to knock out the password from the computer. Police called him the Nazi and the fascist for the Ukrainian sites being open on the computer; they threatened to shave his beard. The details of the search and detention of Hieromonk were published by Novaya Gazeta.
The church was searched; Hieromonk Iona and Archbishop Victor were stripped of clothes during the search. The security forces verbally accused Sigid of publishing The Cult of War article on the church’s website. In their view, this fact “discredited” the army (Article 20.3.3 of the Code of Administrative Offenses). The court hearing of this case will take place on 20 November; the relevant note appeared on the Sloviansk City Court website.
On 4 October 2023, a court hearing took place; it found Sigid guilty of disobedience to the police (part 1 of Article 19.3 of the Administrative Code). He was arrested for two days.