Jesus of Siberia: an ex-traffic cop turned Messiah

Where is Yakov Smirnoff when you need him?

The crowd shivered in breathless anticipation as dramatic music heralded his approach. “The Teacher is coming!” they whispered.

They parted in a human tunnel to allow the approach of the man they know as “Vissarion, the Teacher.” His long brown hair and white robes flowing and face fixed in a beatific smile, Vissarion outstretched his arms in blessing.

Women sobbed in ecstasy and clung to each other as he passed. “It feels like eternity,” one woman gushed. Close by, one man sighed in wonder: “It’s love on earth! Can’t you feel it?”

For thousands of followers, Vissarion is no less than the second coming of Jesus of Nazareth, reincarnated 2,000 years after his crucifixion, deep in the Siberian wilderness.

His promise of salvation has brought 4,000 followers to eke out a living in this far-flung region of Siberia, in one of the more extraordinary currents in a country known for its eccentric religious sects.

AFP: Jesus of Siberia: an ex-traffic cop turned Messiah.

Joel L. Watts
Joel L. Watts holds a Masters of Arts from United Theological Seminary with a focus in literary and rhetorical criticism of the New Testament. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

8 thoughts on “Jesus of Siberia: an ex-traffic cop turned Messiah

  1. I wonder if he calls himself the messiah, or if someone else came up with it. Either way, the Russians don't take kindly to things like this. This guy is going to end up like David Koresh very soon, I think.

  2. I think you are right. What might have happened – and this is just guessing – is that he gave some a ticket, and in exchange for a life long commitment to worship the ticket was reduced to a year in Siberia. Sometimes, things go to their head.

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