Pope Benedict XVI has expressed his solidarity to the Russian Orthodox Church against the “desecration” of a church by feminist punk rock band, Pussy Riot, reports Vatican Insider.
The Pope met with Moscow Patriarchate’s “foreign affairs minister”, the Metropolitan Hilarion, outside the Synod of Bishops on the new evangelisation, on Tuesday afternoon.
The Patriarchate issued a statement saying that during the Pope’s meeting with the metropolitan, the two spoke of “the desecration of sacred Christian places in various countries” and in particular, about “acts of vandalism which took place in the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow.”
Three of the band’s singers have been sentenced to two years in prison for staging a show against presidential candidate, Vladimir Putin, ahead of the Russian elections in March 2012. Putin won the elections amid numerous accusations of poll-rigging.
According to the statement, "Pope Benedict XVI expressed his solidarity with the position of the Russian Orthodox Church on this issue and its surprise by the reaction of some media organisations to these events." Media across the world gave prominence to the Pussy Riot stunt and to the support given to them by numerous international celebrities.
Vaticanspokesman, Fr Federico Lombardi stated he had no comment to make on the matter.
On Wednesday, the President of the Council of Episcopal Conferences of Europe sent a letter to Hilarion expressing his “grave concern with regard to the numerous and increasing manifestations of discrimination against Christians in different countries, and of anti-Christian and anti-church sentiments which have been increasing especially in the Russian Federation in recent months.”
FULL STORY Pope backs Orthodox Church against Pussy Riot desecration (Vatican Insider)