Excerpts from the International Religious Freedom Report 2006
Released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
U.S. Department of State Under Secretary for Democracy and Global Affairs


Restrictions on Religious Freedom

" ... authorities acting on behalf of the ROC sometimes prevented Orthodox churches not belonging to the ROC, including the True Orthodox, from obtaining or maintaining buildings for worship. In April 2005 the court ordered the Church of St. Olga in Zheleznovodsk, which the Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church (ROAC) first registered in 1944 at the same address, transferred to the authority of the ROC Diocese of Stavropol despite the ROAC congregation's renovation and reconstruction of the building at the same site. Cossacks implemented the decision in April 2006, which forced the ROAC to conduct its Easter service outside while the church building stood empty of parishioners, since the local community belongs to the ROAC, not the ROC. The protesting of the church transfer and informing the international community led to the beating of Metropolitan Valentine (see the Abuse section) as well as threats to the ROAC clergy."

Abuses of Religious Freedom

"On October 13, 2005, following ROAC complaints about the awarding of St. Olga's Church to the ROC, three armed men broke into the home of Metropolitan Valentine of Suzdal and Vladimir, the head of the ROAC. The attack was obviously well planned and timed to take advantage of a short period when he was alone. The attackers knocked him unconscious and beat him severely, particularly on his feet, from which they removed the bandages to inflict more harm because of his diabetic condition. The men rolled him up in a rug to be carried out of the house, but the unexpected arrival of another cleric surprised the attackers and they dropped the Metropolitan. He spent six months in the hospital recovering from injuries sustained and the amputation of part of his foot. The FSB reportedly interrogated and threatened several ROAC clergy and members following this incident."