Armed Hooligans Break Into Moscow Church

WikicommonsThe church, nicknamed "Peacock's Eye," was built in the 17th Century and restored in 1965.

Police have detained a group of armed hooligans who broke into a church in central Moscow and threatened church officials and parishioners with a handgun.

The men broke into the church of St. Gregory of Neocaesarea on Bolshaya Polyanka Ulitsa at around 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, head of the Radonezh radio station Yevgeny Nikiforov told Interfax.

The church's bishop said the group consisted of "five to seven" men of "Oriental appearance" who were heavily intoxicated and acted inappropriately inside the temple. Police later said that there were four suspects.

When the church's assistant deacon tried to call the intruders to order, one of them pulled out a gun and threatened to kill him, after which the hooligans took pictures of themselves inside the church with the weapon and left.

Police quickly detained three out of four trespassers in the vicinity of the church. They turned out to be from Moscow, the Moscow region and Ryazan, respectively, the Interior Ministry said.

The authorities are currently trying to establish the fourth man's whereabouts.

Police have opened a criminal case on hooliganism charges in connection with the incident.

The suspects, who continued to behave aggressively even while being taken into custody by the police, face up to five years in prison if found guilty.

See also:

Russian Orthodox Church Responds to Women Who 'Are Not Afraid to Speak'

Ban on Smacking Children Violates Scripture, Says Russian Church

Ukrainian Question Divides Orthodox World