Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Russian Orthodox Church Responds To Perceived Secularist Challenges

According to yesterday's Christian Science Monitor in an article titled Is Russia's Orthodox Church Privileged or Persecuted?, special services were held across Russia on Sunday to support the Russian Orthodox Church that says its reputation and the country's faith are being attacked by irreligious social forces.  The service in Moscow's Cathedral of Christ the Savior, led by Patriarch Kirill, drew 50,000 people. The Church's concern about secularization was triggered by an incident in February in which a women's punk rock band, provocatively calling itself Pussy Riot, entered the nearly empty Christ the Savior Cathedral and performed an obscene "punk prayer." The arrest of three members of the band has set off widespread discussion of the role of the Church, its close ties to the government and the use of anti-extremist laws to protect the Church from criticism.  Also, the wealthy lifestyle of Patriarch Kirill has come under attack, including a blogger's claim that Kirill wore a $40,000 wristwatch. A photo of Kirill wearing it was found on a Church website. The Church then airbrushed out the watch, but forgot to also airbrush its reflection in a polished oak table in a photo that went viral online. [Thanks to Alliance Alert for the lead.]