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Russian Patriarch Blesses New Church Outside FSB Academy

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  • Bill Samsonoff
    http://www.rferl.org/content/russian-patriarch-blesses-new-church-outside-fsb-academy/24663754.html Friday, August 03, 2012 Russian Patriarch Blesses New
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 3, 2012
      http://www.rferl.org/content/russian-patriarch-blesses-new-church-outside-fsb-academy/24663754.html

      Friday, August 03, 2012

      Russian Patriarch Blesses New Church Outside FSB Academy

      By Robert Coalson

      August 01, 2012
      Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill has blessed the cornerstone of a new
      Orthodox church outside the walls of the academy of the Federal Security
      Service (FSB) in western Moscow.

      According to a press statement by the Patriarchate, the new church is
      being constructed "at the initiative of the leadership and students" of
      the academy.

      The patriarch's appearance highlights the increasingly close ties
      between the church and state, a relationship that has recently come
      under closer scrutiny and criticism from the opposition.

      At a ceremony on July 31, the patriarch noted that because of the
      communist-era destruction of churches -- often carried out by the FSB's
      predecessor agencies -- many districts of the capital have few or no
      places of worship.

      "We know what enormous losses were brought to the church life of Moscow
      by the years of revolution and the subsequent years of persecution,"
      Kirill said. "Hundreds and hundreds of churches were destroyed. And
      today, in the memory of those destroyed holy places of the capital, we
      are erecting new churches in new areas."

      Although the new church is next to the academy, the patriarch said it
      would be open to the public. It is part of a new project by the Russian
      Orthodox Church to build 200 new churches in the capital.

      Kirill thanked Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin and FSB Director Aleksandr
      Bortnikov for their support in constructing the new church. Both men
      were represented by deputies at the ceremony.

      'Attacks On Christian Way Of Life'

      FSB Academy Director Viktor Ostroukhov also spoke at the ceremony. He
      said that staff at the academy are "not indifferent to the future of the
      country."

      He added that they are also concerned about what he called "the
      increasing number of attacks on the Christian way of life."

      "These attacks are becoming sharper and are aimed first of all at the
      young," Ostroukhov said. "Together we can oppose these dangerous threats
      to modernity and preserve a great and indivisible Russia."

      ​​The patriarch's appearance comes just as the three members of the
      feminist performance-art collective Pussy Riot is going on trial in
      Moscow on charges of hooliganism for trespassing in a closed area of
      Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral.

      The indictment against them accuses them of trying to "openly express
      disrespect to the Christian world and the church canons."

      Defendant Nadezhda Tolokonnikova issued a statement at her trial on July
      30 saying that the group acted because of "the patriarch's call, which
      made us upset, for people to vote for the politician Vladimir Putin."

      If convicted, they face up to seven years in prison.
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