FaithWorld

Russian Orthodox Church says it’s under attack after backing Putin

April 3, 2012

(Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin (R) kisses Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill during an Orthodox Easter service in the Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow April 23, 2011. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin)

Russia’s Orthodox Church said on Tuesday it was under attack from unspecified “anti-Russian forces” seeking to erode its authority after it threw its weight behind Vladimir Putin before last month’s presidential election.

The unusually strongly-worded statement listed a recent performance by an all-girl punk band in the main Moscow cathedral as well as media allegations against Patriarch Kirill as examples of such attacks.

“The attacks have become more prominent during the pre-election and post-election period, which shows their political and also anti-Russian motives,” the Supreme Church Council said in a statement posted on its website.

Patriarch Kirill, seen as a modernising figure in the Russian church, the largest in Orthodox Christianity, called the 12 years of Vladimir Putin’s rule a “miracle of God” ahead of the March 4 election, which Putin won convincingly.

The Church’s unequivocal support for the ex-KGB spy has angered many members of the anti-Kremlin protest movement in Moscow and other large cities, who saw it as political meddling that was an abuse of the church’s position in society.

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