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He was born in June 26th, 1956 in Moscow. In 1978, he graduated from the Faculty of Philosophy of the Moscow State University majoring in "sociology", the subject of the scientific research: "Criticism of Max Weber’s theory of the "spirit of capitalism" (dealing with the influence of protestant reformation on the development of the market economy).

In 1980, he started to work for the Orthodox Church, his first position being a Reader. In 1983, he graduated from the Moscow Theological seminary, and was ordained as a deacon, and later a priest.

During 1983 - 1985, he  served a priest in a number of Orthodox parishes in Central Asia; he was the head of a church in the town of Dushanbe, but was later deported from the region by the Soviet authorities for insubordination to the Communist authorities. Later he worked as a free-lance translator of theological literature at the Publishing Department of the Moscow Patriarch’s Office.

In June 1988, when the persecution of religion started to cease, he became a priest in a newly opened half-ruined church in the town of Obninsk in Kaluzhsky region.  In 1990, he was promoted to become an arch-priest.

In January 1990, he was nominated by the "Narodny Front" of Obninsk as a candidate for the people’s Deputy of the Russian Federation representing Kaluzhsky Region. In March of the same year,  he was elected a Deputy and a member of the Supreme Soviet of the Russian Federation.

During 1990 - 1993, he was the chairman of the Committee of the Supreme Soviet of the Russian Federation to the freedom of worship, member of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Russian Federation; the author of the Russian Federation law "On the freedom of religious beliefs" which was in force from 1990 to 1997; the author of various legislative initiatives and amendments which released believers from a number of restrictions of their civil and property rights, including the exemption from many of taxes.

In 1991 he was empowered to act for Boris Yeltsin at the elections of the President of the Russian Federation, elaborated the ceremony of the President inauguration (of the pattern of 1991).

In 1990 he took part in the establishment of the Russian Christian Democratic movement, member of its governing body till 1993.At the same time, he continued his studies and in 1993 graduated from the Diplomatic Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in May 1993, he defended his thesis in political sciences, the subject of his research being "The Church and the State in the USSR in 1971 - 1991", received his MA degree in Political Science.

By 1991, he gave up church office on the grounds of the impossibility to combine his religious and parliamentary activities. After the Supreme Soviet had been dispersed in September 1993, he declined an offer to return to his activities as a priest; 1993 - 1995, he worked as a free-lance consultant of the Department of Internal Church Relations of the ROCh. He did not take part in the elections to the State Duma, from March 1994 to March 2000. He was the advisor of the State Duma Committee for Public Associations and Religious Organisations. In February 1999, he defended his Post-doctoral thesis in philosophy on "Dialectics of a Myth and Political Myth Creation" and obtained the equivalent of a  PhD. He authored a number of articles on religious and political-religious issues.

In 1999 published his work "Myth. Religion. State" (440 p.) which deals with the influence of myth creation on the political development of society and of the advantages of Monotheistic ideology for the state building.

In May 1999, publicly announced his (and his wife’s) return to Monotheism, the religion of his fathers and forefathers, and embraced Islam.

After embracing Islam in 1999, he was elected co-chairman of ‘Refakh’, the Social and Political Muslim Movement. Editor-in chief of the "Muslim newspaper" (published since 1999). In 2003, he was elected as president of the UNION OF MUSLIM JOURNALISTS in Russia and he also serves as an advisor for the Council of Muftis of Russia.

Source: Discovering Islam