A Russian cult leader who claims to be the reincarnation of Jesus has officially been arrested, it has today been confirmed.
Here's what we know so far...
Sergei Torop, alternatively known as Vissarion, has officially been arrested.
via: InstagramAlongside his close personal aide, the Russian cult leader was captured by Russian Special Forces during a highly secretive special operation.
Torop lived a relatively normal life once upon a time.
via: InstagramIt's hard to believe, but the fifty-nine-year-old was once a Red Army conscript and traffic police officer. However, in 1990, he had a revelation.
When he was twenty-nine-years-old, Torop had a "vision"...
via: InstagramAnd this would lead him to the realization that he was indeed the reincarnation of Jesus Christ.
Just to clarify, this does not make him God...
via: InstagramBut instead the "word of God" - Just to clear up any confusion.
In 1991, he made his first public speech in Minusinsk.
via: InstagramTorop then went on to found the "Church of the Last Testament," also known as the"Community of Unified Faith", with its head church being located in the Siberian Taiga, Eastern Russia.
The aim of the group is to unite all religions on Earth...
via: InstagramAnd the religion combines elements of the Russian Orthodox Church with Buddhism, apocalypticism, collectivism, and ecological values.
Very quickly, his fan base grew...
via: InstagramAnd today, he has around 4,000 followers - called Vissarionites - living in the settlement, and around 10,000 followers worldwide.
However, cracks have begun to show.
via: InstagramFirstly, his followers obtain a strict lifestyle - vegetarian diet is required, and habits such as smoking or drinking alcohol are fully prohibited. Money is also banned.
His values are a little archaic, too.
via: Instagram3 years ago, the cult leader told the BBC: "We have a school of noble maidens here. We're preparing girls to become future wives, future brides for worthy men. She has to understand not to rise above the man, not to be proud of her independence but to be shy, inconspicuous, and weak."
He also abolished Christmas...
via: InstagramInstead replacing the festive holiday with the anniversary date of his own sermon, August 18th.
And, just to add the cherry on top of this already disturbing cake...
via: InstagramTorop himself lives in a comfortable chalet, all while his followers reside in wooden huts in the surrounding compound, Sun City, which is located in one of Russia's coldest regions, with temperatures sinking to minus 50C in winter.
So, it comes as no real shock that people have started questioning his little cult.
via: InstagramConcerns surrounding the treatment of Torop's followers have been growing for quite some time now.
The Russian Investigative Committee said that his sect has been probed for using "psychological violence" against his followers...
via: InstagramWhich of course causes "serious harm to their health."
It gets worse.
via: InstagramTorop and his aide were also being investigated on suspicion of "causing grievous bodily harm to 2 or more persons."
So, in order to capture and detain Torop, who had so far managed to avoid arrest...
via: GettyThe Russian special forces decided to stage a large-scale special operation.
The operation was carried out yesterday.
via: GettyRussian agents conducted a large military-style operation with 4 helicopters and dozens of heavily armed troops storming Sun City.
Locals couldn't believe what they were seeing.
via: YouTube"There are fifty avtozaks (cells on wheels), fifty buses, an ambulance, and medical workers," said local resident Alexander Staroverov.
Thankfully, the operation was a success.
via: YouTubeTorop and 2 other sect leaders, Vadim Redkin and Vladimir Vedernikov, were detained in the raid, a statement confirmed.
According to Staroverov, Torop and Redkin "were put into helicopters and taken away in an unknown direction."
via: YouTubeIt was not immediately clear if other cult followers were detained, but it is known that around ninety families in the compound were raided by authorities.