Voices from Russia

Saturday, 24 March 2012

His Holiness Sez Pussy Riot “Desecrated” Christ the Saviour Cathedral

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Patriarch Kirill Gundyaev, the First Hierarch of the Patriarchate of Moscow and all the Russias, said that a controversial unauthorised appearance at Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow by the all-female punk group Pussy Riot “desecrated” the church. In his first public comment since Pussy Riot performed an unsanctioned “punk prayer” before the Royal Gates of the cathedral a month ago, Patriarch Kirill said that every believer in Russia was “stung” by the protest, saying in remarks after a service on Saturday, “We won’t have a future if our sacred sites are desecrated, if this desecration is seen by some as virtue, as a proper expression of political protest, or as an appropriate action or harmless joke”. Christ the Saviour Cathedral holds part of the Holy Tunic, a robe reputedly worn by Jesus Christ before his crucifixion.

Inside the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, five members of Pussy Riot, clad in brightly-coloured balaclavas, bowed and crossed themselves as they sang an a capella version of a song entitled Holy Shit. The lyrics included lines such as, “Holy Mother, Blessed Virgin, chase Putin out!” The group said that their performance was a protest against Patriarch Kirill’s support for Vladimir Putin in the run-up to the 4 March presidential elections. The performance came amidst the biggest demonstrations against Putin’s rule since he first came to power in 2000. Three alleged members of the group have since been detained and could face up to seven years behind bars if found guilty under the Article pertaining to hooliganism.

In addition, the patriarch denounced efforts to defend the band members, noting, “Some people begin to appear who are trying to justify this sacrilege, to minimise it… and my heart is breaking because among them are those who call themselves Orthodox Christians.” Supporters of the accused held a series of protests over their detention and launched a petition for their release. A number of religious figures, including Fr Vsevolod Chaplin, the influential head of the MP Department of Church and Society, have said that the authorities shouldn’t imprison the women.

Comment on the original site:

In America, they desecrate the church and Christian symbols. The land of the free they call it. I proudly served in the Marine Corps, only to see my country desecrated. Look at the chaos the US is in now. I’m glad these people are in prison. They aren’t children. I saw the film when they were in the church. They knew what they were doing. The nun was trying to stop them. She was very polite, as were the other men trying to stop them. If it were me, I would’ve kicked the devil out of them all.

24 March 2012

RIA-Novosti

http://en.rian.ru/russia/20120324/172366988.html

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