MOSCOW, January 7. /TASS/. The head of the Russian Orthodox Church has warned against what he described as provocative experiments in culture that might insult the religious feelings of believers.
In an interview to Russia’s national television channel Rossiya-1 Patriarch Kirill, of Moscow and All Russia, recalled the row over controversial engravings displayed at the Manege exhibition hall in central Moscow in August 2015. An Orthodox woman activist then threw them to the floor, saying they were an insult to the religious feelings of believers.
"A couple of months before that exhibition some functionary at the Ministry of Culture signed an instruction to declare those blasphemous images as works of art. Then they were put up for public display at an exhibition in the center of Moscow. What was it? An outright provocation," Patriarch Kirill said.
He believes that methods of protest should not be radical, but it is likewise important to look into the reasons why the controversial engravings were interpreted as works of art.
"Creative endeavor and culture are expected to praise the human being. If a cultural phenomenon, be it a stage production, a film, a painting or a book, praise the human personality and give the individual the strength to love, sacrifice oneself, work and respect others, it is genuine culture."
He complained that many products of modern culture were meant to turn the human being into a beast, to set the wild instincts loose and encourage the meanest manifestations of human nature.
"I’m for the freedom of self-expression, for the absence of censorship, but I’m also for mutual respect and for struggle against vandalism and provocations," Patriarch Kirill said.