Home of Vissarion, the "Jesus of Siberia"

Atlas Obscura
Your Guide to the World's Hidden Wonders
July 16 2013 8:30 AM

Reincarnated Jesus' Secluded Siberian Sect

Atlas Obscura on Slate is a new travel blog. Like us on FacebookTumblr, or follow us on Twitter @atlasobscura.

Sergey Anatolyevitch Torop is also known as Vissarion. Born on Jan. 14, 1961, he has a beard, flowing robes, and claims to be the son of God. 

Vissarion worked as a traffic policeman until being fired in 1990. At this point he claimed to have had a spiritual revelation: that he was the reincarnation of Jesus Christ. His first sermon, during which he founded the Church of the Last Testament, took place in 1991. The church combines elements of the Russian Orthodox Church with Buddhism, apocalypticism, collectivism, and ecological values. Vissarion has gained more than 10,000 followers—4,000 of whom live in clustered cabins and yurts in southern Siberia. 


Vissarion has predicted the end of the world several times. He teaches reincarnation and civility and requires his adherents to live a life free from vices. Members of the sect must abstain from smoking, swearing, drinking, and using money. In return for their piety they are treated to sermons from Vissarion, who addresses his followers from a hill, wearing white robes and shaded by a red velvet umbrella.

The church has claimed its secluded settlement in the Siberian forest—around double the size of New Jersey—is the largest religious reservation in the world.

Cult Camps:

View Tiberkul Religious Settlement in a larger map


The Slatest

Ben Bradlee Dead at 93

The legendary Washington Post editor presided over the paper’s Watergate coverage.

This Scene From All The President’s Men Captures Ben Bradlee’s Genius

Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

Whole Foods Is Desperate for Customers to Feel Warm and Fuzzy Again

The XX Factor

I’m 25. I Have $250.03.

My doctors want me to freeze my eggs.

The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM I’m 25. I Have $250.03. My doctors want me to freeze my eggs.

Forget Oculus Rift

This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual reality experience.

George Tiller’s Murderer Threatens Another Abortion Provider, Claims Free Speech

The Congressional Republican Digging Through Scientists’ Grant Proposals

  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 21 2014 3:13 PM Why Countries Make Human Rights Pledges They Have No Intention of Honoring
Oct. 21 2014 5:57 PM Soda and Fries Have Lost Their Charm for Both Consumers and Investors
The Vault
Oct. 21 2014 2:23 PM A Data-Packed Map of American Immigration in 1903
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 21 2014 3:03 PM Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 21 2014 1:02 PM Where Are Slate Plus Members From? This Weird Cartogram Explains. A weird-looking cartogram of Slate Plus memberships by state.
Brow Beat
Oct. 21 2014 9:42 PM The All The President’s Men Scene That Perfectly Captured Ben Bradlee’s Genius
Oct. 21 2014 11:44 PM Driving in Circles The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.
  Health & Science
Climate Desk
Oct. 21 2014 11:53 AM Taking Research for Granted Texas Republican Lamar Smith continues his crusade against independence in science.
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.