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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Excommunicated Writer Sues Church

An excommunicated journalist has filed a defamation lawsuit against the Pskov diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church for 1.5 million rubles ($52,000), claiming that it does not have the authority to kick him out of the church.

The diocese said it excommunicated Oleg Dementyev for “ongoing heinous slander and satanic lies” in July.

Dementyev filed his lawsuit Tuesday in Pskov City Court against Pskov and Velikiye Luki Metropolitan Yevseniy, or Nikolai Savvin, and the Pskov diocese for defamation and ruining his reputation, Interfax reported Thursday.

The church excommunicated Dementyev after a court found him guilty of libel for an article headlined “A Wasp’s Nest Under Golden Domes,” which accused lay sisters at a monastery of smoking and drinking in their robes.

He said he could not be excommunicated because he “doesn’t belong to the Orthodox church” and Patriarch Kirill’s permission would be needed, Interfax reported.