MOSCOW, June 29 (Itar-Tass) — Patriarch Kirill is not going to react to personal insults coming from people representing primitive low-brow mass culture but is depressed with the state of their morale, Deacon Aexander Volkov, the patriarch’s press secretary, told a briefing on Thursday. His comment came in response to a regional television channel which has announced a mocking “prize” for the patriarch.
“The Patriarch is not going to react to the outrageous behavior of people who consider themselves to be members of some elite class and who think that they can influence the public opinion. But he’s extremely concerned with their moral state,” Volkov went on to say.
“We live in a different dimension than those who allow themselves to mock at the patriarch. Mockery and jeers targeted at the head of the Russian Orthodox Church means mocking and sneering at the Church,” Volkov said.
Patriarch Kirill who returned from a week-long vacation on Thursday said at a liturgy in a Moscow Kremlin cathedral that the Russian Orthodox Church was the first target for those who seek to destroy the country.
“Though today we are living at a time of free religious choice and the Church is separated from the state, the Russian Orthodox Church continues to serve its great mission by uniting our people and preserving the unity of our homeland. That is why it has always been a target for those who sought to destroy the country and sow internal chaos in people's lives. For as long as the Church stands firm as a pillar of people’s life, the people capable of preserving its independence, integrity and national identity will also stand firm.
The head of the Russian Orthodox Church has refused to comment on the Pussy Riot punk group incident until a court ruling is passed because he doesn’t want to exert pressure on investigators.
The members of the Pussy Riot punk group held a punk-prayer on the Ambon of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in February and had been noticed in other actions.
“No official statements on the behavior of the girls can be made before the court passes its ruling. The patriarch will voice his personal opinion on the incident shortly after a court decision is announced,” press secretary Alexander Vokov emphasized.
The action and its consequences have aroused great public interest. Some cultural figures have collected signatures in Pussy Riot’s support. Volkov said that in their letters people were asking the patriarch to intervene. “However, the girls themselves haven’t addressed the Patriarch. He has only received addresses from groups of people concerned with their fate,” Volkov went on to say.
He recalled that thousands were being held in custody in Russia but the Church had been asked to help exactly those people who insulted it.
“If we were asked to give a church assessment of the events, we would call it sacrilege. But sacrilege is not part of the Penal Code and the state doesn’t punish its citizens for sacrilege,” Volkov said.
"They will continue to be the enemies of the Church so long as they don’t repent irrespective of what a secular court rules,” Alexander Volkov explained.