Orthodox Christians up in arms over 'Pussy Riot' in church

 
Three Russian women are currently in jail, awaiting trial on charges of hooliganism, after they allegedly held an impromptu anti-government punk show in Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. The Russian Orthodox Church is so unhappy with this “blasphemy” that its priests have collected signatures from their congregations to pressure the judiciary into handing the women severe sentences. Our Observer, an Orthodox priest, thinks this is a bad idea.
 
Pussy Riot, as it calls itself, is a mysterious group of women – they all wear vividly coloured ski masks to hide their faces. Formed in August 2011, they rose to fame after singing a song with the refrain “[Vladimir] Putin is a sissy” in Moscow’s Red Square in January. They were promptly fined.
 
 
Their latest stunt has had graver consequences. On February 19, the women burst into Moscow’s cathedral and started jumping up and down, singing “Holy Mother, chase Putin out!” Their song also included allegations that the head of the Russian Orthodox Church had ties to the former KGB. They called their performance “a punk prayer.”
 
 
On March 3, two women – Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Marina Alyokhina – were arrested on hooliganism charges over the cathedral incident. A third woman, Yekaterina Samutsevich, was arrested on March 16. All three have denied they are members of Pussy Riot or that they took part in the performance. They are now in jail, awaiting their trial in April.
 
Russians are bitterly divided by the case. Many members of Russia’s opposition parties have asked for the women to be released, arguing that two of them have young children to take care of. Rallies in their honour have been held in cities around Russia, and over 6,000 people, including several orthodox priests, have signed a petition asking for their release.
 
Meanwhile, many Orthodox Christians are outraged by what they see as a defilement of Moscow’s cathedral. On March 18, the Russian media discovered that the Russian Orthodox Church was distributing a petition to its priests, asking them to have all their congregants sign it. The letter calls for not just the women, but also their associates and the media that covered their performance, to be condemned to sentences that would serve as an example to all. The Orthodox Church claims the letter was a private initiative carried out by a few priests.
Contributors

“This injures the reputation of the church in society’s eyes”

Konstantin Kravtsov is a Russian Orthodox priest.
 
Pussy Riot’s performance was clearly political, but it was also an affront to our religious leadership. So it inevitably provoked a reaction both in religious and civic circles. However I think this reaction would have been much milder if they had not been arrested. Personally, I find their treatment a bit harsh. Why must they be sent to jail, instead of just making them sign a form saying they will not leave the territory before their trial?
 
The letter calling to charge the women and their collaborators with a criminal offence is not a private initiative. The congregants’ signatures were collected following a written order by a Protopope [a priest of high rank in the Orthodox Church], which I saw with my own eyes. In my view, it’s contrary to the Christian spirit. Our Lord calls us to clemency, not to lynching. It’s true that the Old Testament punishes blasphemy – as some may characterize this performance – by stoning. But the New Testament hasn’t inherited this article. The only punishment our church can administrate is excommunication, but that, of course, can only be administrated to church members, and we don’t know if these women belong to the church. If they’re not Christian, nothing can be done. In my view, pushing the judiciary to sentence these women for “igniting religious hatred” is simply disproportionate, and injures the reputation of the church in society’s eyes.”
 
 
Post written with freelance journalist Ostap Karmodi. 

Comments

Hosea

ROC stopped being holy a long time ago. First of all before the Revolution of 1917 it had unfettered access to schools, the military and much influence. This went on for close to a thousand years. Yet it had no positive influence on society for when the Bolsheviks came to power and said it was okay to kill, the people went on a multi-million victim killing spree.
Then when the Bolsheviks persecuted and killed thousands of Christians the Russian Orthodox Church lied and said that there were no persecutions.
So..ROC get real.
what our Lord wants is mercy and justice. Read Hosea. The ROC is just a cryptoSoviet cult just like United Russia.

we are not free to commit sacrilege

We iconstasis marks the area were the body and blood of Christ mysticly are. It is a sacred place. What gives anyone the right to commit sacrilege?

I think I know which side

I think I know which side Jesus would have been on, and it wouldn't have been with the priests..

A crime in brazil

Here in Brazil this kind of behaviour constitutes a crime but I don't know about Russian laws. A church is not a place for protest, it's a place for worship. Etically I say they are wrong but then it all depends on Russia's law, and if the authorities are really angry they will find a law to fit them in, for sure.

Russia is messed up, top down.

Pussy Riots

Hi Mr Putin. I am a former Radio / TV Producer (Analyst) from Swedish Radio who used to produce News Bulletins and programmes in Russian and also the founder of HCR Charity (Helpline for Children in Russia).
I read above article with dismay because the women involved have in fact achieved a maximum exposure in Media both on national and international level.
Unfortunately it is impossible to ascertain why and for what purpose they are doing it and what is their message?
Until these basics are clearly defined it is therefore impossible to make an informed opinion or make a judgment other than, wanting to know more about their message.
Having tried for many years to reach Putin - I can well understand that the women may not have been able to get a message to him in his office.

Yet he is suppose to listen to Russian people therefore who can represent them better than women / mothers - even if their method can be disputed!
My own relatives were send to Sibirea for 30 years ( Decabrist movement, Prince Wolkonskij) when trying to improve education and human rights in Russia. Therefore I encourage Mr Putin to listen to Russian people and forget all about idiotic Marxism on which Communist system is based.
Russia needs true leaders who understand the spirit of their people and not imported disaster which paralised Russia for so many years!

Countess Smirnoff, (a proud member of Wolkonskij family)!!

No one has any respect for

No one has any respect for anything or anyone anymore. I thought it was only in the USA,but I guess not.

God Bless `em

In a world in which protest is becoming so carefully managed by the powers that be in all countries, God bless `em. Jesus was himself a protestor who overturned the moneychangers tables in the Temple. A lot of people didn't like that, either. Too much rigidty and we have...fascism. Coming to a stage near you.

Jesus was angry because the

Jesus was angry because the moneychangers were using his Father's house for reasons other than what it was meant for...praying.

Pussy preformers

No objections to these humans preforming in the streets,but the church is a place of worship,there are plenty of outlets where this scum will be accommodated.

Performance

I would have to disagree with you Mr. Walker, the Church has become just as much a place of politics as any civic building.

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