- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 8, 2003

LONDON DAILY TELEGRAPH

MOSCOW — The Russian Orthodox Church has demolished a chapel where a priest conducted a “marriage” ceremony between two men.

The Chapel of the Vladimir Icon of the Mother of God was torn down apparently after local churchmen decided it had been defiled.

The “marriage” of Denis Gogolyev and Mikhail Morozev in Nizhny Novgorod scandalized the Orthodox Church and created outrage among ordinary Russians.

The priest, the Rev. Vladimir Enert, was defrocked after the men said they paid him a $450 bribe to ignore a ban of same-sex “marriages.”

A spokesman for the Orthodox Church said the chapel had to go, as it had been desecrated. Some local officials said it was due for demolition to make way for a new, larger church, though this would not open until 2005.

A spokesman for the Nizhny Novgorod Patriarchate told the Daily Telegraph, “The chapel was dismantled because it is no longer needed.”

But he conceded that the homosexual “marriage” ceremony may have “sped up the process.”

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