6.19.2005

Priest Murders Nun by Crucifixion

Romanian Priest Unrepentant after Crucifixion of Nun

from AFP

TANACU, Romania - A Romanian Orthodox priest, facing charges for ordering the crucifixion of a young nun because she was "possessed by the devil," was unrepentant as he celebrated a funeral ceremony for his alleged victim.

"God has performed a miracle for her, finally Irina is delivered from evil," Father Daniel, 29, the superior of the Holy Trinity monastery in north-eastern Romania, told an AFP reporter before celebrating a short liturgy "for the soul of the deceased," in the presence of 13 nuns who showed no visible emotion.

He insisted that from the religious point of view, the crucifixion of Maricica Irina Cornici, 23, was "entirely justified," but admitted he faced excommunication as well as prosecution, and was seeking a "good lawyer."

Prosecutors said Saturday they had charged the priest and four nuns with imprisonment leading to death, while religious authorities said he would be barred from celebrating liturgy until the investigation was completed. The monastery will be shut if they are found guilty, Father Daniel's superiors said.

Cornici was found dead on Wednesday, gagged and chained to a cross, after fellow nuns called an ambulance, according to police. Before being crucified she had been kept shut up for several days, her hands and feet tied and without food or drink.

Cornici had entered the monastery just three months before, after visiting a friend who was a nun there, police said.

It was not clear why Father Daniel believed the nun was possessed. One parishoner, Dora, said the nun "had to be punished, she had an argument with the Father during a Sunday mass and insulted him in front of the congregation."

As her coffin entered the church of the monastery Saturday no church bells were sounded while nuns cast distrustful glances at the strangers present at the ceremony.

Claps of thunder from an approaching storm were sometimes the only sounds to break the silence.

"This storm is proof that the will of God has been done," Daniel said.

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