Here is a story for your “contemptible irony” file.
According to the latest from Reuters, tens of thousands of Moscow Patriarchate sympathizers joined the Patriarchate today in protesting what has been labelled “persecution” against it, which has been prompted by the arrest of a girl-punk band which broke into the altar and sung about the Patriarchate and its ties to Putin.
The head of the Russian Orthodox Church warned tens of thousands of believers on Sunday they were “under attack by persecutors” on a nationwide day of prayer intended to heal divisions over a protest at the altar by a women’s punk band.
At least 40,000 people came to hear Patriarch Kirill lead them in prayer at Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow, where Pussy Riot performed a “punk prayer” on February 21 deriding the Church’s close relationship with President-elect Vladimir Putin.
We at NFTU haven’t focused on that story, because it was massively covered by world Orthodox media, and we suspect that this was because of the shock value of a bunch of girls being thrown in jail under the same charge as murdering immigrants (which are usually charged, as has the band been charged, under “hooliganism”, with a penalty of two to seven years in jail).
However, on a news site where we cover persecutions, church seizures, and physical confrontations usually initiated by the leadership of the Moscow Patriarchate throughout the CIS, as well as its lawsuits and threats all over the world through its “ROCOR” branch, we find it the height of absolute and despicable hypocrisy to claim persecution because the average Russian is shocked that the “Church” could demand jail time for a group of girls –who were probably angling for a record contract as much as a protest– that defaced nothing, interrupted no service, and effectively acted as annoyance for approximately two minutes.
For us, the real shock and disgust is that innocent people who have nothing to do with the MP’s buildings, and have interrupted no prayers at all, having bothered no one, have been put through this for years, and all the Patriarchate had to do was lie and say “oh, they are schismatics” and all was well. When that trick started to fail, they manipulated the Russian media during the Pyotr Kuntsenov bunker disaster to justify their anti-Christian behavior. And that one was largely successful in deflecting the Patriarchate from its criminal origins.
But you can’t throw soot on a leopard and call it a panther forever. And here we are. Suddenly the Russian people begin to wonder why “His Holiness” wears a watch the price of about 30 average Russian cars. (That’s MSRP on a 2012 model, by the way, for those who want to get picky.) Suddenly they’re realizing that when the good Patriarch Kirill calls on people to support Putin, it’s not because he is “preserving good social order”. It’s because Patriarch Kirill worked for the same government agency, and from KGB agent to billionaire tobacco investor to “Patriarch of the Russian people”, Kirill has his place firmly cemented among the Siloviki.
But now they want your sympathy. Now they claim “Orthodoxy in Russia is going to be destroyed.” Like the Sergianists of old, Patriarch Kirill and his allies are not worried about preserving the Church, but saving their own skins. And the mask is off.
“We are under attack by persecutors,” says Patriarch Kirill.
No, we respond. This is what is called in military parlance, “blowback”– or as we say here in America, chickens coming home to roost. Or better still, perhaps the good prelate would remember what the Scripture itself says: Be not deceived, God is not mocked. For what things a man shall sow, those also shall he reap. (Galatians 6:7)