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Priest “dismembers” his wife and hides her head in a freezer

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A Russian priest from the Republic of Tatarstan has been arrested on suspicion of murdering his wife.

Russian Orthodox priest Mikhail Zubarev, a former cleric of the Kazan Church in Nizhnekamsk, has been expelled from the clergy, pending an ongoing investigation, the press service of the Kazan diocese said in a statement on Wednesday. The church added that the incident occurred on October 31.

About 34% of women killed in the United States in 2021 died at the hands of an intimate partner, according to Bureau of Justice statistics. Only about 6% of men killed in the United States in 2021 died from intimate partner homicide.

“Priest Mikhail Zubarev, who was banned from the clergy, committed a terrible crime: the murder of his wife,” the Church statement said. He added that he was in custody and that law enforcement was investigating the matter.

Russian online newspaper Mash, close to the Kremlin, said Zubarev “stabbed his wife, then dismembered her” and hid her head in the freezer “where their children found it.”

“So far the main version is this: the clergyman killed his wife out of jealousy,” Mash added on his Telegram channel.

People rest in Zaryadye Park in front of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, the main Russian Orthodox church in Moscow, October 30, 2021. A Russian priest from the Republic of Tatarstan was arrested on suspicion of the murder of his wife.
KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images

Russian law enforcement agencies have not released a statement on the incident.

The Church said that in recent months there had been “notable oddities” in Zubarev’s health, “casting doubt on his mental health.”

“He disdained the Holy Gifts and behaved inappropriately with parishioners and members of the clergy,” the statement said. “It’s not that he offended or insulted anyone… There was just an irreverent attitude towards the service.” Other priests also testified to his inappropriate behavior.

Mash said Zubarev moved from the Murmansk region to Kazan and in 2016 was granted the right to wear a pectoral cross for the work he had done for the good of the Church.

Zubarev moved to Tatarstan in 2014, according to Russia’s official news agency RIA Novosti, citing the Kazan diocese. He served for a long time in the Murmansk diocese. Zubarev then intentionally failed to disclose his personal mental health history when he moved from Murmansk.

“When he moved… his personal records were not detailed and he hid from the clergy that he was registered at a (medical facility where professional help is provided to people with mental health problems) in Murmansk , where he was born and raised,” the Kazan diocese said.

“We learned about it yesterday from the investigating authorities,” the statement added.

The Kazan diocese offered condolences to the relatives of Zubarev’s deceased wife.

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