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Russia

Russia Rallies 'In Defense' Of Orthodox Faith

Patriarch Kirill (right) leads a call to prayer in support of the Russian Orthodox Church at Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow.
Patriarch Kirill (right) leads a call to prayer in support of the Russian Orthodox Church at Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow.
By RFE/RL's Russian Service
Thousands of believers gathered outside Russia's main cathedral on April 22 as part of what religious leaders called a day of prayer "in defense" of the Orthodox Christian faith.

Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, led morning prayers at Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral before launching a procession of supporters carrying icons and other property religious authorities say have been "defiled" by an alleged wave of attacks against the church. 

In particular, the church has pointed to a stunt by the girl punk band Pussy Riot, which in February entered Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral to perform a song about the church's support for Vladimir Putin ahead of the country's presidential election. 

Similar events will be held at Orthodox churches throughout the country. 
 
In Moscow, some defenders of the church began gathering as early as April 21, including members of the Night Wolves motorcycle club. 
 
Aleksandr Zaldostanov, one of the leaders of the Night Wolves, said the group wanted to show its support for the pro-Orthodox initiative, which coincides with the start of motorcycle season. 

"We wanted to, at the same time [as the opening of the motorcycle season], support the Russian Orthodox Church, to show our solidarity, and to stress that we are with them and not with those crazy [antichurch] people -- that we are with our country and with our faith," Zaldostanov said.
 
Priests carry out the liturgy in Moscow's Christ the Savior CathedralPriests carry out the liturgy in Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral
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Priests carry out the liturgy in Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral
Priests carry out the liturgy in Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral
Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, a spokesman for the Russian Orthodox Church, on April 21 stood surrounded by bikers as well as more traditional members of the church and said the event aimed to bring all Orthodox faithful together at a special time of year for the church.

"We came here to express our support for the church and to speak about our faithfulness to the Christian spirit, faithfulness to God's truth, and in these Easter days it's very important to feel that we, as Orthodox Christians, are together," Chaplin said.
 
Moscow authorities ordered thousands of police to maintain order at the site, where Pussy Riot supporters were expected to stage a separate demonstration. 
 
 
With reporting by AFP 
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by:
April 22, 2012 11:44
"faithfulness to the Christian spirit" They are as Christian as I am Russian. Just look at their religion, it is paganism with some elements from Christianity. Their term "bogoroditsa" for virgin Mary literally translated as "the one who gave birth to god". Russians must realize that finite cannot give birth to the Infinite. God has no beginning or end. He cannot die or be born. In paganism however it is acceptable. Just look at Greek mythology Zeus with a mortal woman and the product was Hercules the "most powerful" being on the Earth. Many other examples. Russians need to detach themselves from paganism and come back to Christianity - the teaching of the Christ.

by: Oguz
April 22, 2012 19:20
All of these beliefs about God or so-called faithfulness to the Christian or other spirits create crisis, violence, killing, and war between people. And the people don't know what they want or need to survive. It is sad.

by: Ray F. from: Lawrence, KS
April 22, 2012 20:46
Nice photo at the top of this article. Wonder what the editor was trying to say? For a somewhat more balanced report, see the lead story on ORT (Russia's 1 Channel) Sunday evening (22 April). Lenin must be doing cartwheels in the mausoleum.

by: john from: canada
April 24, 2012 21:38
When I see that top photo of the old guard priests with Kirill and with all their vestments and white beards, I just want to start humming a tune from the play "Jesus Christ, Superstar".

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