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Last Updated: Friday, 29 July 2005, 10:21 GMT 11:21 UK
Murder case rocks Russian Church
Davidova Pustyn monastery (pic: NTV)
Sources at the monastery said large donations had come in
A funeral is being held for the murdered abbot of a Russian Orthodox monastery south of Moscow, whose body showed signs of torture.

Archimandrite German's body was found in his cell at the Davidova Pustyn monastery on Tuesday.

Russian media report that his hands had been tied with an electric cable and his head had been smashed in.

The safe in his cell was found empty and his belongings were in disarray. Robbery is suspected as the motive.

The cleric, whose original name was Vyacheslav Khapugin, was appointed abbot of the monastery in 1995.

It lies in Chekhov district, about 70 kilometres (45 miles) south of Moscow.

A spokesman for the Moscow Patriarchate, Vladimir Vigilyansky, described it as a "bestial murder... an example of a totally dissolute society and its moral degradation".

Monastery sources said large donations had been received at the monastery shortly before the murder, Itar-Tass news agency reported.

Khapugin was born in 1965 and became a monk at the age of 22.


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