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EURASIA > Orthodox Church forgives Pussy Riot

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Pussy Riot members Maria Alyokhina (L), Yekaterina Samutsevich (C) and Nadezhda
Tolokonnikova sit in a glass-walled cage after the judge delivered the verdict. EPA Photo

Pussy Riot members Maria Alyokhina (L), Yekaterina Samutsevich (C) and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova sit in a glass-walled cage after the judge delivered the verdict. EPA Photo

Two top clerics in the Russian Orthodox Church said that it has forgiven the members of feminist punk band Pussy Riot who were convicted of hooliganism and sent to prison for briefly taking over a cathedral in a raucous prayer for deliverance from Vladimir Putin.

Tikhon Shevkunov, who heads Moscow’s Sretensky Monastery and is widely believed to be the Russian president’s spiritual counselor, said on state television Aug. 18 that his church forgave the singers right after their “punk prayer” in the Christ the Savior Cathedral in February.

“The church has been sometimes accused of not forgiving them,” the Associated Press quoted the cleric as saying. “We did forgive them from the very start. But such actions should be cut short by society and authorities.”

Archpriest Maxim Kozlov agreed, but he also said on state TV that his church hopes the young women and their supporters change their ways. “We are simply praying and hoping that these young women and all these people shouting in front of the court building, committing sacrilegious acts not only in Russia but in other countries, realize that their acts are awful,” he said. “And despite this the church is asking for mercy within the limits of law.”

Both clerics supported the court’s decision to prosecute Pussy Riot, despite an international outcry that called it unfair.

Apology to Turkish Embassy


Meanwhile, near the court building in Moscow, two riot police officers illegally entered the territory of the Turkish embassy while trying to stop activist Tatiana Romanova, who had climbed a fence of the embassy and chanted slogans in support of Pussy Riot’s members.

The girl and the two officers briefly entered the embassy garden, illegally entering Turkish territory.

Embassy officials first ordered the police to leave the property before Romanova was removed by embassy staff. The woman was detained by Russian authorities after exiting the property. The Russian Interior Ministry apologized to Turkish officials after the incident and provided guarantees that a similar incident would not occur in the future.

August/20/2012

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