Russian Orthodox Church

NIZHNY NOVGOROD, November 13 (RIA Novosti) – Cult followers in central Russia’s Penza Region have dug a shelter, stocked it with food and are waiting for the apocalypse, which they say is due in May 2008, a local prosecutor said on Tuesday.

A total of 29 sect members, including four children, of the so-called True Russian Orthodox church have moved into the shelter, which contains underground wells, a kitchen, monastic cells and other facilities. They wrote a letter to local authorities saying they had gone underground of their own free will.

“The inhabitants of the underground shelter have threatened to set themselves on fire if forced out,” Alevtina Volchkova said, adding that a criminal investigation has been launched against the sect leader, who calls himself Father Pyotr.

He is likely to undergo a psychiatric examination and will face up to three years in prison if found guilty of infringement of his followers’ rights. The prosecutor also said all the cult members are from other Russian regions or former Soviet countries, and some have breached Russian laws.

Full article here.


An oldie but a goodie, from Christianity Today:

A plan by the Russian government to give every citizen a tax identification number has alarmed many Orthodox Christians who fear that the numbers, along with bar codes, are hostile to the Christian faith.

Discussions about the possible introduction of social security cards with bar codes have added to the growing concern here. All bar codes developed according to the international UPS standard include three pairs of parallel lines which critics suggest could represent the number 666. According to the Book of Revelation in the New Testament, 666 is the “number of the beast” (Revelation 13:18). The “beast” is also widely seen as the “Antichrist,” whose coming is predicted in the New Testament, along with a series of disasters and the death of Christian believers.

Although many computer experts reject suggestions that the parallel lines represent 666 or the Antichrist, many Russian Orthodox Christians are deeply afraid of the bar codes. They are also worried that tax numbers allocated to all citizens would replace their baptismal names.

We here in the U.S. have been struggling with the introduction of the antichrist to the aisles of our supermarkets for years.  For a long time, I have to admit, I suspected that Count Chocula was the antichrist — or possibly that Lucky Charms guy.