7 Russian Cult Members Emerge From Cave
By MIKE ECKEL
Associated Press Writer
MOSCOW (AP) - Seven women who had holed up in a cave for months other members of a Russian cult awaiting the end of the world emerged Friday night and were being treated by emergency workers, regional officials said.
More than two dozen others remained behind but were expected to come out as early as Saturday, the governor's office said.
About 35 members of the Christian cult entered the cave near the village of Nikolskoye, 400 miles southeast of Moscow, in early November to await the end of the world,
Officials had repeatedly enlisted the help of priests from the Orthodox Church in an effort to persuade the group to leave, communicating mainly through a small chimney pipe that poked up through the snowy hillside.
Earlier this week, Melnichenko told reporters that some of the cult members had indicated they might leave the cave on Orthodox Easter, which is April 27.
An engineer from a devout family, Kuznetsov, who goes by the title of Father Pyotr, declared himself a prophet several years ago. He left his family and established the True Russian Orthodox Church and recruited followers in Russia and Belarus.
He reportedly told followers that, in the afterlife, they would judge whether others deserved heaven or hell.
Followers were not allowed to watch television, listen to the radio or handle money, Russian media reported.