Thousands pray for anti-Putin punks

2012-04-22 22:12

kalahari.com

Moscow - Church bells rang across Moscow on Sunday as tens of thousands of faithful prayed at the main cathedral for the "correction" of feminist punks who face seven-year jail terms for singing before its altar.

The balaclava and miniskirt-clad members of the protest group Pussy Riot burst into the Christ the Saviour Cathedral in February and belted out verses of a song denouncing the Church's open support for Prime Minister Vladimir Putin ahead of his successful quest to win a presidential election.

The incident received little attention at first and several members of the group and reporters covering the episode were briefly detained before being freed. Three of the band members were re-arrested the following month and they have since remained in custody ahead of a trial on hooliganism charges.

But the Church soon turned it into a rallying call and other Putin backers joined ranks as they sought to build a movement capable of standing up to the protests that preceded the ex-KGB agent's election to a third term.

Patriarch Kirill held a Sunday morning prayer at the cathedral before leading a precession of crosses and icons "defiled" by the band into a sea of what the city said was 65 000 Orthodox faithful.

The patriarch warned that Russia was facing a "fateful moment" in history as women in colourful head scarfs wiped away tears under the blue spring sky.

He denounced Pussy Riot's actions as "blasphemy" and "a mockery" while voicing frustration that some were treating the incident as the "legal expression of human freedom".

"We come here to pray for our Fatherland, for our people and for our youth - for God to keep it from the Devil's temptations," the patriarch said with emotion in his voice.

"We are not threatening anyone and we are not demonstrating our force.

Stronghold

"But no one can stop us in this fateful moment in history - and today we are experiencing just such a moment - from gathering for prayer."

The Church issued a separate statement saying prayers should be read for "the correction of the defilers of holy shrines and the good name of the Church".

Massive screens set up outside the cathedral meanwhile featured various celebrities calling on Russians to unite in Orthodox faith.

"When Communism disappeared, the last stronghold of Russia's genetic code - its key - became Orthodoxy," Oscar-winning film maker Nikita Mikhalkov said in the film.

The event underscores the increasingly-powerful Church's ability to bring massive numbers out on the streets amid lingering tensions over Putin's return to the Kremlin after 12 years in power as both president and premier.

The Pussy Riot performance began a series of scandals for the Church in recent weeks that included an embarrassing incident in which its press office admitted to doctoring a photo to erase the patriarch's $40 000 watch.

Many of the gathered came in marching under tsarist-era flags representing nationalist forces and the various youth groups.

Condemn desecration

"We came because the Church needs our protection," said a 30-year-old space industry reporter named Dmitry.

"We came to show that there are more of those who condemn the desecration of relics than those who defend it."

Similar events were staged in other major cities and the patriarch referred to "hundreds and hundreds of thousands" of Russians joining their voices Sunday in prayer.

Interfax reported that more than 20 000 had joined a mass event in the southern city of Krasnodar alone.

Police said the event passed without any arrests or stand-offs between the faithful and Pussy Riot's most fervent supporters.

Nearly 30 Pussy Riot fans were booked on Thursday after rallying outside a Moscow court house that extended the pretrial detention of three group members to late June.

Read more on:    pussy riot  |  russia
NEXT ON NEWS24X

SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
2 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Wednesday Cape Town - 12:15 PM
    Road name: Elevated Freeway Inbound
    DELAYS going towards The Waterfront exit
  • Wednesday Montague Gardens - 10:52 AM
    Road name: Montague Drive Southbound
    DELAYS towards Bosmansdam Road due to roadworks
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2 TV Series for R250

Get 2 TV Series box sets for R250 and save up to R148! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Pre-order the Xbox One

Get this all-in-one entertainment system with live TV, movies, social networking and gaming. Pre-order now!

Up to 50% off hair care products!

Save up to 50% on professional hair care products at kalahari.com. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off academic books

Score a mind blowing 30% off academic books! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing deals on electronics!

Save up to 35% on electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Apple iPad 3 Black 64GB 9.7" Tablet With WiFi & 4G

Retina Display Finally the incredible Retina display technology from the iPhone...

From R7999.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

The ingredients for today are communicating your original ideas in a creative and unique way that can make the right people look...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.