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Russian Orthodox Church’s former spokesman collapses & dies in Moscow, aged just 51

Russian Orthodox Church’s former spokesman collapses & dies in Moscow, aged just 51
An ex-spokesman of the Russian Orthodox Church, Vsevolod Chaplin, has died suddenly in Moscow. The ultraconservative cleric was known for his controversial statements, often made during frequent appearances in the Russian media.

Chaplin reportedly felt ill when he was sitting on a bench near the church he was serving in on Sunday. He then slumped to the ground, and by the time the ambulance arrived it was too late. According to the media reports, the arch-priest suffered an asthma attack, although the exact cause of death is still unknown.

Chaplin headed the Church's public relations department between 2009 and 2015 and acted as the religious body's spokesman until he was sacked. During that time, he made a name for himself with his outspoken and highly controversial comments on social issues and foreign policy. He repeatedly advocated the restoration of monarchy in Russia, called for a more active role for Moscow in the Ukrainian conflict and described Russia's anti-terrorist operation in Syria as a "holy war."

READ MORE: Putin spends Orthodox Christmas in Damascus, visits ancient church & historic mosque

In one particularly eyebrow-raising statement in April 2018, he said residents of Moscow and St. Petersburg should prepare for a missile strike that could hit the cities in the "coming days."

Since his dismissal from the spokesman role – which he'd branded a political move – Chaplin continued to serve as a rector in one of Moscow's churches and hosted several TV and radio shows while also being active on social media.

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