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Russian Patriarch Says Punk Band 'Desecrated' Church

  • RFE/RL

Yekaterina Samutsevich, a member of the punk band Pussy Riot, appears in Tagansky District Court, Moscow.

Yekaterina Samutsevich, a member of the punk band Pussy Riot, appears in Tagansky District Court, Moscow.

Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill says a female punk band desecrated the Cathedral of Christ the Savior when they stormed the church and performed.

Members of the band Pussy Riot said the action on February 4 was to protest the patriarch's support for Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin who won reelection as president on March 4.

Three members of the group are now under arrest for the stunt. More than 2,000 people have signed an open letter to the patriarch, asking the clergy not press charges.

Patriarch Kirill told Russian TV he was sickened by their protest and saddened that Russian orthodox believers would defend the band.

"Those people don't believe in the power of prayer, they believe in the power of propaganda, in the power of lies and slander, in the power of Internet and mass media, in the power of money and weapons. We believe in the power of prayer. I call on the whole Russian Orthodox Church for passionate and diligent praying for our country, for our trust, for our people, for God to forgive us our sin," Kirill said.

According to the Russian news agency Ria Novosti, several religious leaders, including Vsevolod Chaplin, the influential head of the Orthodox Church's social affairs department, have said the women should not be imprisoned.

Based on Reuters reporting

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