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Kirill: ‘We will not stop’

14 September 2012

By a staff reporter

THE Patriarch of Moscow, Kirill I, has said that the Russian Orthodox Church is under attack from "opponents" who fear its resurgence.

In an interview with Russian state television, the Patriarch criticised the destruction of wooden crosses outside churches by protesters at the jail sentence imposed on members of the band Pussy Riot (News, 31 August).

Three members of the band were recently imprisoned for two years for the crime of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred, after their performance of a "punk prayer" at the altar of the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, in Moscow. Their song called on the Virgin Mary to "throw Putin out" (News, Comment, 3 August).

The Patriarch did not refer to the three by name, but said that Russia was threatened by "blasphemy and outrage". "Those who would invite us to mock our shrines, reject our faith, and, if possible, destroy our churches", he said, were "testing the people's ability to protect their holy places".

He rejected criticism of the closer ties between the Church and the state, saying that it was "not a merger but the Christianisation of society. . .

"That is what frightens our opponents. It is fear in the face of the fact that Orthodoxy, which was practically destroyed in Soviet times, has been able to return to the life of the people - not as much as we would like, of course, but maybe this whole uproar is being raised to stop us. I want to say: we will not stop."


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