Restorer of “Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church” jailed for fraud, forgery, and child molestation

Many of the schismatic bishops received by Constantinople trace their “consecrations” to the former deacon who was previously jailed for molesting minors.

Queensland, Australia, November 28, 2018

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Viktor Chekalin, AKA “Vincent Berg,” was sentenced to 4 years and 3 months in jail by the Southport District Court in Queensland, Australia in September for repeated fraud and forgery, reports Romfea.

Before moving to Australia and deceiving his way into a psychiatric practice, Chekalin was one of the main restorers of the schismatic “Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church” (UAOC), “consecrating” many of its hierarchs with former “Bishop” John Bodnarchuk of Zhytomyr in 1990.

The UAOC was one of two schismatic groups rehabilitated and received into communion by the Patriarchate of Constantinople on October 11, and many of its hierarchs trace their “consecrations” to Chekalin.

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Chekalin began his multi-faceted ecclesiastical career as a celibate deacon in the Tula Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church, though he was defrocked the next year for theft and immoral acts. He joined a branch of the Catacomb Church the same year where he was secretly tonsured as a monk with the name Vikenty (Vincent) and was ordained to the priesthood, reports

He also worked as a school teacher at the same time.

In 1987, he was sentenced to 3.5 years in prison in Kaluga for molesting minors, though he was released on parole in December of that year.

He was then ordained Bishop of Yasnaya Polyana in 1988. In 1990, he joined the revived UAOC, where, together with the aforementioned Bp. John, who had also been defrocked by the Russian Church, he “consecrated” new hierarchs for the Ukrainian schism that persists until today.

He ordained one of the UOAC’s senior hierarchs, “Metropolitan” Andrei (Abramchuk) of Galicia in 1990, and the current head Makary Maletich, a former priest of the Russian Orthodox Church, received his episcopal consecration from “bishops” who had been “consecrated” by Chekalin. Thus, many of the hierarchs received by Constantinople trace their “consecrations” to a defrocked deacon who was convicted of molesting minors.

Chekalin traveled to Jordanville, New York in 1990 to seek support from the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR), though he was later kicked out and sent home for stealing the antimins and liturgical utensils from a ROCOR parish, Romfea reports.

On January 4, 1991, he was received into the Uniate church as a bishop and was appointed as First Hierarch of the newly-formed “Russian Orthodox Catholic Church.” However, his reception was not recognized by the Vatican and he was forced to leave the Ukrainian Catholic Church, while continuing to manage the “Russian Orthodox Catholic Church.”

In the early 1990s, Chekalin convinced a family from Tula to allow him to take their ten-year-old son, Andrei Popov, to Australia, where he managed to convince the boy to give up his desire to return home. He presented the boy as his son and managed to acquire Australian citizenship under the name of Vincent Berg.

According to, as of the mid-2000s, Chekalin was living with Popov in Melbourne where he was the pastor at a Protestant church.

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He has presented himself as a victim of repression by the USSR for supposedly being a bishop of the Anglican Church in Russia. He has also claimed that he was trained a psychiatrist at a special KGB school., a resource on psychiatrists around the world, reported in March that Chekalin/Berg, 67, was found guilty of faking a medical diploma and lying about his training as a psychiatrist. He was convicted of four counts of fraud, two counts of attempted fraud, and one count of forgery.

The court heard how, beginning in 1999, he used fake credentials from a “secret KGB facility” in the Voronezh State University to convince Gold Coast Hospital administrators to let him act as a clinical observer. He later faked his way into a job as a treating psychiatrist in another facility, which he held until 2002. He later worked in four hospitals, arbitrarily prescribing medicines that gave several patients serious side-effects.

His deception lasted until April 2003 and included one fraud that garnered him more than $30,000. His crimes came to light when another doctor at Queensland Health was found to have faked his credentials. He was eventually charged with fraud and assault in 2009.

No one from Voronezh State University was able to find any records of Berg/Chekalin, though they were able to verify that his diploma was a fake.

PsychSearch repeats the false information that Chekalin was a persecuted Anglican bishop and that Popov is his son, but notes that he is collecting disability for mental health issues since losing his job with Townsville Health service.

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