MOSCOW, May 16 (RIA Novosti) – All remaining members of the doomsday sect, holed up in a dugout in Russia’s central Penza Region since November, have come to the surface, a local authority spokesman said on Friday.
Earlier Friday, rescuers and police completed an operation to bring to the surface the bodies of two deceased sect members. The bodies have yet to be identified.
“As we pulled out the dead bodies, we suggested the others leave. They agreed,” Vladimir Provotorov said.
The nine remaining sect members had earlier promised to leave the dugout after the Feast of Holy Trinity, celebrated on June 14.
Thirty-five members of the sect went underground in the Penza Region to wait for the end of the world, which they said would come in May or June. Another 24 members, including four children, left the dugout just over a month ago after the roof collapsed.
The sect is part of a wave of extreme Russian Orthodoxy in Russia and some former Soviet republics. Adherents of this radical form of Christianity refuse to own passports, as they “contain the number of the Beast”, and will not handle money or consume products packaged in containers bearing ‘Satanic’ barcodes.
May 16, 2008