Scientology is nothing more than a "brutal, totalitarian sect" which defrauds people out of money, the Russian Orthodox Church has said, in comments reported by the Rosbalt news agency.
A representative of the missionary department of the St Petersburg
diocese, Archpriest Georgy Ioffe, said yesterday during a press
conference that all the Church of Scientology's methods were artificial
and created "to drain money from people."
He added that "quite a large number of people" had come to the St
Petersburg diocese, having suffered at the hands of the US-based Church
Rosbalt reported that Darya Varnovskaya, who spent spent time in St.
Petersburg's Church of Scientology, said that its weekly revenue is
between three and four million rubles ($48,000-64,000 or
But the news agency said that Varnovskaya suspects the true figure to
be much higher, claiming that the church's international administration
expects its St. Petersburg branch to earn 6 million rubles ($96,000 or
£76,000)) per week.
The Scientology church's staff, meanwhile,
earned just 10,000 rubles ($160 or £126) per week and faced
"disciplinary action" if they were unable to implement "the plan," she
The Chairman of the Legal Committee of the Russian Association of
Centres for the Study of Religions and Sects, Alexander Korelov, told
Rosbalt that the Scientology church was "a typical example of an
organised criminal organisation using religion as a cover."
Korelov claims thet through "centrally run" housing cooperatives in
Moscow and St Petersburg, the church of Scientology has defrauded
victims out of "billions of rubles".
Russia's Justice Ministry has previously attempted to prohibit
Scientology, which is a recognised religion in some countries but
considered by many others to be a cult.
In June, arrests were made when police raided the Scientology
church's offices in Moscow and St Petersburg in connection with illegal