Tuesday, 22. July 2014
15. 07. 14. - 15:00
A Romanian priest who crucified a young nun to death during a botched exorcism ritual has been forced to live alone in a remote forest hut after he was chased into isolation by villagers.
Father Daniel Corogeanu, 33, was convicted of killing the nun in an exorcism carried out in June 2005 and given a seven year sentence. He was jailed together with four other nuns who helped him with the ritual on the nun that resulted in her death at the remote Tanacu Monastery in eastern Romania.
Sister Irina Cornici, 23, died after being bound, gagged and strapped to a cross where she was left for five days without food or water as part of the ritual.
They claimed at their trial that they had performed an exorcism to try and help Cornici, and pleaded not guilty to charges of illegally detaining a person against their will and causing their death during that detention.
The story inspired the screenplay for the film "Beyond the Hills", a Cannes and Palme d’Or award winning film by Romanian director Cristian Mungiu.
After his release the priest said he planned to return back to his monastery where he wanted to start a new monastery dedicated to the nun's memory. But when he got there angry villagers in the commune of Zapodeni in Eastern Romania chased him out of town saying that they would never forgive him for what he did.
In the end he set up home in a wooden hut which he now refuses to leave, according to a local council official.
The case is still shrouded in mystery despite the conviction over allegations that the court had not taken into consideration properly the suggestion that the nun might have died from an adrenaline overdose injected by paramedics.
Coroner Dan Gheorghiu admitted recently that the was some credence to this, saying: "I was part of the team who handled the exhumation of the nun’s body. It was concluded that the woman died of an overdose of adrenaline. Don’t ask me, I don’t know why the judges did not take that into account."
It emerged after her death that Cornici had been diagnosed as a schizophrenic and her "possession" was unlikely to be more than a series of schizophrenic episodes.
At the time Father Corogeanu had told the court that the exorcism ritual he and the nuns had performed was "quite normal" and blamed medics who attended to Cornici for her death.
He said: "I consider myself not guilty because Irina Conrici’s death was not down to the fact that we kept her locked up. We tied her up because she kept hitting and harming herself and we would have found her dead in her room eventually.
"I admit I tied her up and stuck a towel in her mouth and kept her like this for five days. I admit that I used to cover her mouth with tape while she took part in daily mass, but only because I did not want her to disturb the service.
"Four nuns helped me tie her up and guarded Irina for days. They tried to give her food and water but she refused. All she accepted was holy water. This was the best solution for her because she had to recover from her constant agitation."
And he added: "My biggest mistake was that I called the ambulance when I saw she was not moving. I think she died because the medics who came with the ambulance tried to resuscitate her by giving her too much adrenaline.
"Had I not called the ambulance, she would have been well now. It was the last stage of her exorcism and it is normal that a person possessed by demons faints when all the prayers end. She was supposed to recover after that.
But despite his protestations of innocence the Romanian Orthodox Church excommunicated him soon after the nun’s death and said the ritual was against any Church teachings.
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