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Patriarch Kirill condemns Pussy Riot feminists, leaders of other religions support him

March 26, 2012, 11:54 UTC+3

This cannot leave every believer unaffected

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MOSCOW, March 26 (Itar-Tass) — Head of Russia’s’ Orthodox Church Patriarch Kirill has expressed publicly his attitude to the scandal about the ‘punk-prayer’ of the Pussy Riot group’s feminists at the Christ the Saviour Cathedral, and called all believers to be against such actions and attempts to excuse those. Representatives of Russia’s traditional religions supported the Russian Orthodox Church in that.

“Blasphemy” and “desecration of shrines” – this is how Patriarch Kirill called the escapade of Pussy Riot, the Nezavisimaya Gazeta writes. The patriarch regretted the fact “there are people who approve this blasphemy, minimise it and try to present it as a funny joke.” “I am sorry, these people include those who consider themselves orthodox believers,” he said after a service in Moscow’s Cathedral of the Assumption. “I am adamant not a single believer should claim it is not his or her business or concern.” This cannot leave every believer unaffected. As we do not have future if we start desecrating great shrines and if somebody approves this desecration... as some political protest, as some appropriate action of as an innocent joke.”

The speech of the patriarch followed a resolution of the Inter-religious Council of Russia, which had a meeting on March 22 at the Moscow Choral Synagogue, the newspaper reports. Representatives of Russia’s traditional religions supported the Orthodox Church. The council’s resolution reads: “We share the view that desecration of a church or a mosque, synagogue or datsan affects equally all believers of traditional religions... The deed of those people is not an act of hooliganism, their purpose is to rouse national hatred in the society... We consider as correct the condemnation of this crime as of one aimed at split of the society, which rouses discord between believers and those who do not believe in God. We are sure: it is necessary to reveal organsiers, participants and possible clients of the mentioned deed. We hope the society and the courty will be able to offer adequate measures of re-education.”

The scandal around the action of the Pussy Riot punk group inside the Christ the Saviour Cathedral aroused discussions in blogs, including the orthodox society, the Rossiiskaya Gazeta writes. A parishioner of Moscow’s church of Assumption Lida Moniava published in her blog a petition to the patriarch asking for stopping the criminal case of the participants of the punk prayer. Several thousand users put their signatures. The Internet also features information about organised collecting of signatures under an address to Prosecutor General Yuri Chaika and Moscow’s Prosecutor Sergei Kudeneyev to bring to responsibility everyone involved in the organisation of the punk prayer and to use Article 282 of Russia’s Criminal Code /rousing religious hatred/. The Orthodox Church confirmed the document, if it exists at all, was not binding and the patriarchate was not involved in distribution of it.

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