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Russian Orthodox Church reveals it will regulate professional EXORCISMS after series of deaths during rites performed by amateurs

Russian Orthodox Church reveals it will regulate professional EXORCISMS after series of deaths during rites performed by amateurs
In 2021, subjects like demons, ghosts, and exorcisms aren't exactly top of the agenda. However, in Russia, the theological commission of the country's Orthodox Church is preparing a new proposal to regulate the famed ancient rite.

Exorcism, common in certain branches of the Christian faith, is a means of supposedly casting out demons said to be possessing a person. It has long been a practice in the Eastern Orthodox Church, and is even a part of a commonly used prayer book, the Euchologion. The text includes a demon-removal ritual from Saint Basil the Great, one of the church’s most influential figures.

According to Hilarion, a senior figure in the Russian Orthodox Church and the metropolitan of Volokolamsk, the practice of exorcism does not currently exist in all churches, and the new document will lay out proposals for its unification and regulation.

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“Until its publication, I cannot divulge its contents,” the metropolitan said.

This is not the first time that Hilarion, who also works as the head of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, has spoken about exorcism. In December last year, the metropolitan requested that believers refrain from performing exorcism rites themselves, noting that the ceremony could only be conducted by a trained priest.

His request followed the publishing of a video from of Gusevka, near Volgograd, where villagers “cast demons” out of a 10-year-old child.

Exorcisms have also been in the news this year, with investigators in Saint Petersburg opening a criminal case regarding the death of a five-year-old boy. According to the TV channel 360, he was killed by his mother, who believed that her son was possessed by demons and engaged in an exorcism rite.

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