Orthodox Church calls for punishing performers, organizers of stunt at Christ the Savior Cathedral

Moscow, March 1, Interfax – The Russian Orthodox Church believes all those connected with a recent extravagant performance at the Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow should be identified and strictly punished.

“It is difficult to say what motives those girls were guided by. But this needs to be found out. I think all the chain of the organizers of this shameful show should be disclosed, so that its participants and organizers give testimony,” Head of the Synodal Department for Church and Society Relations Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin said on Soyuz television channel.

It was reported earlier that the feminist punk group called Pussy Riot performed a song near the altar at the Christ the Savior Cathedral on February 21, which many believers perceived as blasphemous. The cathedral security service apprehended the girls. They later described their performance on Twitter as “a punk prayer.”

Police have opened a criminal case on disorderly conduct charges (Article 213 of the Russian Criminal Code).

The priest suggested that a special inquiry is needed to understand the degree to which the video featuring this show, which is now available on the Internet, could be considered extremist.

“It openly preaches hatred to Orthodox believers, contains insults, and provokes a response to what was said from Orthodox believers, or perhaps from some other groups as well, like [Vladimir] Putin’s supporters or someone else of the kind,” he said.

“Any attacks on things and objects sacred to people should be punished severely, just as attacks on government symbols or graves are punished now,” he added.