"Death lovers club": suicide sect in St. Petersburg welcomes troubled teens

There exists rather unique organization in St. Petersburg. Its members claim suicide prevention to be their main occupation. Nevertheless, many consider the organization to be nothing but a mere sect.

The organization was founded by celibate priest Grigori (Vadim Lurie). The 42-year-old Lurie is a professional chemist; he attempted to become a monk but did not stay in the monastery for long. He began studying the Bible and later was at the head of the congregation. His reputation within the church circle isn’t good at all. Some consider him a snob. As for the Russian Orthodox Church, many religious members consider that Orthodox principles do not go together with the suicidal ideas and principles of Nietzsche advocated by the celibate priest. As for Lurie himself, he calls his teaching punk-Orthodoxy.

According to Russian newspaper “MK”, many factors in the work of Mr. Lurie appear strange and even evil. The newspaper also states that the suicide rate in the so-called “Death lovers club” equals six deaths per 6 months.

The newspaper has followed a life of one of the girls who was connected to the organization of father Grigori. In Fall 2002 Katya Cherkova has left for Kharkov State University to continue her studies. She then phoned her mother and explained to her that father Grigori had asked her to work for him on an Internet.

The celibate priest has really made Katya a work offer through the Internet. The initial agreement was such that the young lady was supposed to construct an internet site focusing on helping teens to cope with suicidal problems.

In January 2004 Katya Cherkova has disappeared without a trace. It wasn’t until June of this year that two bodies were discovered nearby Roschino village of Leningrad’s region. One of the bodies was that of Katya's and the other of her 19-year-old partner Dima Romkin. Both corpses were located not far away from father Georgi's country residence. Investigation determined that both had been poisoned by psychotropic substances. No criminal charges had been filed.

“MK” writes that suicidal teenagers used to gather at Katya's apartment. Most of the time, up to 15 young people inhabited the flat. The priest paid all the expenses. At the first, the idea seemed to be quite noble. Female psychologist by the name of Alice, who was also hired by Grigori, had to assist the teenagers in coping with their personal problems.

The following is a short description of a typical day in the apartment, as told by Alice. “Typical day of a suicidal teenager: sleeping till 2-3 pm. Afterwards, just sitting, walking around, smoking non-stop in the kitchen. Alcohol consumption is more than welcome in unlimited quantities. Lack of any occupation; hatred…. What Lurie does to children is horrible…”.  In the course of her entire stay with Lurie, Katya used to send daily e-mails. Nowadays, these e-mails serve as the only evidence in still non-existent criminal case against “Death lovers club”, reports “MK”. The letters clearly indicate the way Katya's mental health has been deteriorating.

Katya's mother considers father Grigori responsible for her daughter's death. “I am willing to sacrifice my own life just to see this man held responsible for what he had done to my daughter. It is he who is responsible for the death of my daughter, because he is the founder of the god damned club,” says she.

According to father Grigori, his is a non-profit organization which exists on donations only. 

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