True Russian Orthodox Church

A suicidal doomsday cult that isolated themselves in a cave in anticipation of the coming apocalypse

early 2000s - 2008

Members leaving the cave

The True Russian Orthodox Church, founded by Pyotr Kuznetsov in the early 2000s, rose to prominence through the charismatic leader's manifestos based on the teachings of the Russian Orthodox Church. The movement quickly gained a following of devout individuals who, inspired by Kuznetsov's message, began separating themselves from society and taking up residency in a shared building.

As they became increasingly devoted to him, Kuznetsov's followers stockpiled an underground bunker with food and explosives, which they entered to wait for the apocalypse, threatening to blow themselves up if anyone intervened. This move resulted in a long standoff between cult members and authorities, where not even Kuznetsov could convince his followers to leave the cave.

Eventually, the cult agreed to leave the cave after the decomposing bodies of dead members became too toxic. In the end, Kuznetsov attempted suicide after realizing he was wrong, and the group disbanded.

Religion: Christianity

Denomination: Russian Orthodox

Founder: Pyotr Kuznetsov ("Brother Maxim")

Founded: early 2000s

Ended: 2008

Location: Nikoskoye, Russia

Size: 30

Also called: Heavenly Jerusalem

Other info:

Other tags:

Podcast episode on the cult