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OK, I thought someone would have posted about this by now. My turn I guess. Here goes:

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2012/08/17/judge-finds-anti-putin-rock-band-guilty-hooliganism/

Do you think the sentencing was too strict or too lenient? I was horrified when I first heard about their antics at Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow. I support punishment for such deviant and grossly inappropriate behavior.

Later on, reading about the sentencing, I saw this other article and was horrified once again:

http://en.ria.ru/society/20120817/175271764.html

Who are these people? Militant atheists? Publicity seekers? Miscellaneous instruments of Evil? Whatever it is, I find it so very disturbing - and especially after all the decades of persecution and terror the churches faced in Russia and Ukraine under the Soviet Union. Lord, have mercy.

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Some people still don't understand the conception of the Holy Fool, or the purpose of their "antics", or that, by sentencing these girls to prison, Putin's show trial and the Patriarch's endorsement of it, explicitly makes their point: the Church has become a captive of the Russian government once more, a tool of Putin's increasingly tyranical regime.

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If a shocking display of something like this were to take place at St. Peters in Rome, don't you think the perpetrators would be found guilty, at the least, of criminal trespass and sentenced accordingly?

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Sure. And what is the penalty for criminal trespass? Maybe thirty days and a fine. But criminal trespass is not the penalty brought against these women, who are charged with a crime that makes insulting the Church an act of lese majeste and an attack on the Russian state. The Patriarch did not help his own cause by not showing any indication of Christian forbearance or interceding for mercy on their behalf, but rather crying for Putin to throw the book at them (but, then, what can one expect from a Patriarch who called the thug Vladimir Putin "a gift from God"?)

If the purpose of the Pussy Band was to highlight the incestuous relationship between the Orthodox Church and the Putin regime, it certainly succeeded. If the ensuing Pussy Riots were intended to show the intolerance and growing authoritarianism of the Putin Regime, they also succeeded.

Overall, the effect of the demonstration, the riots, the trial and the verdict was to undermine the legitimacy of the Putin regime and the moral authority of the Orthodox Church. In both cases, the wound was self-inflicted; the overreaction of both Putin and the Church does nothing except make it seem as though they are deathly afraid of four little girls.

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This was a good sentence. The very fact that they have named themselves with the derogatory and sexual name which they have shows exactly what they are.

No holy fools have ever displayed their breasts to clerics or in public nor have they engaged in the sexual antics these girls are known to have engaged and displayed. Lord have mercy! How can anyone seriously think this??

Personally, I think they are not fools, but sadly, like so many youth in the world, tools of the evil one--not because of their political views, which are their perogative, but because of their immorality and lack of respect for the holy.

We have surpassed every boundary of decency and civility in the West. Society has suffered enough through the antics of Madonna and her ilk.

Good for Russia to not put up with this immorality and disgrace blaspheming a church! They have backbone. We either pat such scandalous behaviour on the back or celebrate it. In my opinion, WE in the liberal and immoral West are sick; not Russia!


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I am no fan of Putin. It seems strange the ROC has not learned the hard way to distance itself from the government. However, did anyone note these youths desecrated a church and were way over the top in terms of decent, civilized forms of protest?

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My old friend, Abbot Tryphon of All Merciful Savior Orthodox Monastery has some perspective to offer us on the matter:

http://morningoffering.blogspot.com/

No Such Thing as Sacrilege in the West


Western media coverage of the Russian political organization (hardly a musical group) known as "Pussy Riot" has been one of the most distorted news coverages of recent memory. Now that they have been found guilty of hooliganism and sentenced to 2 years in prison, it is worth taking a closer look at actually what happened.


This whole ugly incident has been made to appear in both Western media, and the White House, as having to do with freedom of speech and the right for these young woman to attack the evil Vladimir Putin, seen as a KGB agent who'd like to silence all dissent. That American singer Madonna would come out in full support of Pussy Riot during her recent Moscow concert, has only added to the fuel. Yet is it any wonder that a woman whose whole career has been filled with sacrilegious usage of Christian imagery would now defend her fellow travelers, the Pussy Riot? Can Christians forget that Madonna opened a concert with herself hanging on a cross, in mockery of Christ's holy crucifixion?


This Madonna woman even had the audacity to call the holy Patriarch corrupt. How dare she step foot in Russia, a land whose very soil is filled with the blood of holy martyrs who died under the previous demonic attack on Orthodox Christianity, the Soviets. She is a fellow traveler of a new breed of Christ haters, whose support comes from "informational totalitarianism," the modern, Christianaphobic, Western media.


Most of what we've read about this infamous moment, when the Pussy Riot women ascended the steps leading to the iconostasis, clad in bright clothing and masks, screaming out profane "poetry" and defiling the main cathedral of the Moscow Patriarchate, was reported by Western media as "an attack on Putin". It was not an attack on Putin, but an attack on the Patriarch and the Church.


Wasn't it enough that the people in the streets of Moscow have had to be subjected to profane language delivered with music from the depths of hell, yet the West can not see the need for swift and decisive legal action? Two years in prison for such an act of defilement of Christ the Saviour Cathedral seems hardly sufficient, in my mind, to fit the crime. Better that they should have been sentenced to two years hard labor.


And then there are those who would have us believe (including the Pussy Riot girls, of course), that we should now offer Christian forgiveness. Yet as a Christian I believe repentance must come before forgiveness, and I am praying that two years in a Russian prison will be time sufficient for these young women to take a close look at what they've done, and truly ask forgiveness. I believe the Patriarch himself would come to the prison to hear their confessions and offer holy absolution, if they truly repent. As a Christian I will be praying for these disturbed young women, yet I do not believe letting them off with a light sentence would serve as a warning to others that we must respect the sacred places of everyone. Furthermore, I am quite sure His Holiness Patriarch Kirill has forgiven these young women, but justice must follow course. Civilized societies have laws, and there are consequences for breaking those laws.


Christianity everywhere is being attacked. There is even a movement in the United States to force police and fire chaplains, such as myself, to remove the crosses from our badges, something we will all refuse to do. For too long Christians in the West have sat by in all passivity while symbols of our Christian faith have been mocked and defiled by rock stars and entertainers. We've watched as crosses have been removed from public places and Christ centered prayers forbidden in public places by our courts. Is it any wonder we can't see the justice of the two year sentence that has been handed down in Moscow? Have we even heard what filth was shouted out in the cathedral? Read these words and dare to suggest that this was all about President Putin:


Holy shit, shit, Lord's shit!
Holy shit, shit, Lord's shit!
St. Maria, Virgin, become a feminist...
Patriarch Gundyaev believes in Putin
Bitch, you better believed in God


Madonna said President Vladimir Putin should free the three young female band members from prison and asserted that the Russian Orthodox Church is corrupt, and the Western media ran with it. The Western media totally ignored the real truth that Pussy Riot is simply a publicity-seeking group of "performance artists" who make their living by creating scandals. Would the Western media expect this Madonna woman to suggest President Barack Obama free Americans being tried in an American court? No American president would are try to intervene in an independent court decision, just as President Putin would dare not. The myth that Putin is anything but the strong leader Russia needs at this period in time is just that, a myth.


The truth is, Pussy Riot actually did not say a word against President Putin during their February "punk prayer" at Christ the Savior Cathedral. They just danced feverishly in the cathedral's solea, kicking up their legs, screaming blasphemous profanity and defiling a sacred place for Orthodox Christians. If this defilement had taken place in an American synagogue or in an American Muslim mosque, you can well bet the media and the White House would have responded differently.

If we think this is the end of the attacks on Orthodox Christianity, think again. Activists of the Ukrainian feminist group Femen use a chainsaw to cut down an Orthodox cross, erected to the memory of victims of the political repression in Kiev.



With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

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The good Father Abbot himself forgets about the true nature of the Holy Fool, whose job it is to shock and outrage the complacent, within the Church and without. Jesus himself committed an act of sacrilege when He chased the money changers out of the Temple. The good Abbot would probably among the outraged members of the Sanhedrin.

The simple truth is, two decades after the fall of the Soviet Union, the Church of Moscow is corrupt. Its relationship with the secular government is too chummy. It has not stood up for truth when truth was inconvenient to the government, on whom the Church increasingly relies for support. In so doing, the Church of Moscow surrenders its moral authority and loses its ability to act as a transformative force in Russia. Unless it does repent, it's doomed to becoming the servant of the state, and not of Christ.

The Holy Abbot is here also guilty not only of carrying water for Putin, but also of a degree of intellectual dishonesty by conflating the actions of Pussy Riot, which were an overtly political statement, and those of a feminist group in Ukraine, which had completely different motives.

Father Taft has long noted that objectivity is sorely lacking within some Orthodox circles, and that this is a "Western" trait that Orthodoxy would do well to adopt as its own. Articles like this merely confirm the truth of his words.

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No holy fools have ever displayed their breasts to clerics or in public nor have they engaged in the sexual antics these girls are known to have engaged and displayed. Lord have mercy! How can anyone seriously think this??


Holy fools have been know to gallivant naked (or next to it), to rant, to insult both public and Church officials, and to fling poo at them in a manner familiar to all who visit the primate house at the zoo. The whole point of the fool is to outrage sensibilities. Pussy Riot seems to have worked on yours pretty well.

Stop being so "churchy", and focus on what they are saying. Unless, of course, you like Patriarch Kiril believe that "Vladimir Putin is a gift from God"?

For a useful history of Holy Fools, see S.A. Ivanov, Holy Fools in Byzantium and Beyond (Oxford Studies in Byzantium) 2006.

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Vladimir Putin and the Russian Orthodox Church HAVE both asked for leniency in the sentencing. They have 10 days to appeal, and could possibly recieve a much lighter sentence.

Personally, I agree with the court alot more than I could with the many Western Pop stars, who will not even acknowledge that the women were guilty of anything. It should be noted that supporters of the band in Eastern Europe have committed serious provacations against both Orthodox and Catholics.


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Nihilism is best done by professionals. Iggy Pop

I think I would worry more about their supporters than them.

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I was sent this link earlier today

Mercouris Blog

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"Jesus himself committed an act of sacrilege when He chased the money changers out of the Temple."

Stuart, you sound just like a "spirit of Vatican II" Catholic or perhaps a member of LCWR when you say that.

Our Lord, Savior and God, Jesus Christ, committing sacrilege? I don't think so.

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Sacrilege is in the eye of the beholder. The Pharisees and Sadducees though Christ committed sacrilege and nailed Him to a tree for his impertinence. Christ's message was about the establishment of a new Temple, and of the corruption of the old temple through its acceptance of worldly values. Tell me with a straight face that the hierarchy of the Russian Church today is not corrupt, and has not fallen into the trap of accepting all-to-worldly values.

In the meanwhile, two other perspectives on the case:

Putin vs. the Punk Rockers

and

Putin's PR Blunder

Let us hope that Patriarch Kiril remembers his true master, and likewise cuts his losses by (a) interceding for (as opposed to advocating the strongest possible punishment) for the women; and (b) denouncing attempts by the Putin government to trample upon human rights and human dignity--regardless of the consequences to the earthly establishment of the Russian Orthodox Church.

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Hooliganism

1. Hooliganism, that is a gross violation of the public order manifested in patent contempt of society and attended by the use of weapons or articles used as weapons shall be punishable by compulsory works for a term of 180 to 240 hours, or by corrective labour for a term of one to two years, or by deprivation of liberty for a term of up to five years.

2. The same deed committed by a group of persons in a preliminary conspiracy, or by an organised group, or connected with resistance to a representative of authority to any other person who fulfils the duty of protecting the public order or who suppresses the violation of the public order shall be punishable by deprivation of liberty for a term of up to seven years.


In other words, "Hooliganism" is whatever the government says it is ("We know it when we see it") and can be applied to whatever individuals or groups the government finds objectionable at the moment.

I find far more objectionable the idea that some people think it is worse to utter profanities in church, than for the leader of a great Church to openly embrace--and call "a gift from God"--a man who usurps the rights of the people, uses the power of his office to imprison, torture and murder those who oppose him, who engages in corruption on a massive scale for the enrichment of himself and his cronies, simply because that man claims to be a Christian and uses the authority of his office to show personal and financial favor to the Church.

The Putin regime is widely regarded as autocratic, brutal, corrupt and illegitimate within Russia. In the past, it was tolerated because of the Faustian bargain Putin struck with the Russian people--to restore order and a modicum of prosperity, in return for their silence about his methods. Now, however, it is increasingly clear that Putin is not holding up his side of the bargain: the Russian economy is increasingly frail, prosperity is fading, and order is not being maintained. This cannot go on much longer, and when the house of cards collapses, on whose side will the Orthodox Church be? That of the Russian people, claiming their inherent rights and dignity? Or on the side of a man who is "a gift from God"?

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