Friday, August 01, 2014


Russia

Orthodox Leader Says Church Under Attack

An orthodox priest holds an icon outside a court building in Moscow on August 17, 2012 during the Pussy Riot trial. An orthodox priest holds an icon outside a court building in Moscow on August 17, 2012 during the Pussy Riot trial.
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An orthodox priest holds an icon outside a court building in Moscow on August 17, 2012 during the Pussy Riot trial.
An orthodox priest holds an icon outside a court building in Moscow on August 17, 2012 during the Pussy Riot trial.
The head of the Russian Orthodox Church says the church and its values are under attack by those who fear its post-Soviet revival.

Patriarch Kirill was speaking September 9 at a service at Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral commemorating the 1812 Battle of Borodino.

Kirill said the fight against Napoleon's forces 200 years ago was a lesson for today's Russia, which he suggested was threatened by "blasphemy and outrage."

He later told Russian television that the Orthodox Church was now facing a "test."

"I cannot shake the thought that this is an exploratory attack...to test the depth of faith and commitment to Orthodoxy in Russia," Kirill told Rossiya TV.
 
"And today, I think those who launched this provocation have seen that standing before them is not a faceless, quiet mass...but a people that is capable of protecting what it holds sacred," he said.

Kirill did not mention the punk-music collective Pussy Riot, three of whose members are now serving a two-year sentence for performing a "punk prayer" at a Moscow cathedral.

Since the August 17 verdict -- highly criticized internationally as excessive -- vandals in Russia and Ukraine have cut down a handful of wooden crosses allegedly in support of Pussy Riot.

Critics of President Vladimir Putin say the case against Pussy Riot is part of a campaign by the government to crack down on dissent.

Supporters of the group turned out for a concert in St. Petersburg on September 9, with the Russian rock group DDT among the performers.

DDT frontman Yury Shevchuk spoke out against political repression.

"Twenty years ago, we fought against political repression. Today, we're at it again. Twenty years have gone by and nothing has changed," Shevchuk told the crowd.

Our correspondent reports a heavy police presence outside the club where the concert was held in the northern Russian city.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AFP, ITAR-TASS, and RFE/RL's Russian Service

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