A former traffic police officer who has run a cult in Siberia for the last thirty years and claims to be the reincarnation of Jesus has been arrested by Russian police.
Cult leader arrested in Russia claims to be Jesus: Sergei Torop, who is known by his flock as Vissarion, was arrested after helicopters and armed police officers stormed the communities that he ran. Additionally, two of his aides were also arrested.
An investigative committee is charging him with running an illegal religious organisation. Stating that it extorted money from people and subjected them to emotional abuse. Torop, 59, with long grey hair and a beard was taken into custody in a helicopter.
One of his aides, Vadim Redkin, a former drummer in a Russian boyband, was also arrested along with Torop’s other aide, Vladimir Vedernikov. Torop claims he had an “awakening” as the Soviet regime in the country began to collapse. And in 1991 founded what is now known as the “Church of the Last Testament”.
Thousands of his followers live in remote villages in the Krasnoyarsk region of Siberia. And people that have converted to his religion include professional workers as well as some that have traveled from abroad to worship him.
Originally it was reported that Vissarion said Jesus was watching from an orbit close to Earth. And that the Virgin Mary was actually running Russia but later on changed his story and claimed himself to be Jesus.
The Russian Orthodox Church has long condemned the group. However, officials have, until now, left the cult largely alone. It is not clear what the followers will do now their leader is no longer with them. Nor why officials decided that the time was right to move in and make the arrests.
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