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Madonna takes stage in Moscow; Russia's main Orthodox Church objects

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  • Bill Samsonoff
    http://www.canada.com/topics/entertainment/story.html?id=a4eb5e1f-bb28-4a90-a327-fd74ceb11c4e&k=89717 Madonna takes stage in Moscow; Russia s main Orthodox
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 15, 2006

      Madonna takes stage in Moscow; Russia's main Orthodox Church objects
      By Judith Ingram, Canadian Press
      Published: Wednesday, September 13, 2006

      MOSCOW (AP) - Madonna took the stage of Moscow's biggest stadium on Tuesday
      night for the latest concert in her round-the-world "Confessions" tour in
      spite of religious protesters' threats to disrupt the performance.

      The culmination of the concert, when Madonna sings while suspended from a
      cross, is at the heart of objections to the show.

      "I think a deeply believing person would never go to the concert," the Rev.
      Vsevolod Chaplin, a spokesman for the Russian Orthodox Church, told
      Associated Press Television News. "This lady ... plays with religious
      symbols, and I think it's not only a matter of financial advancement of her
      production but it's also a kind of attempt to justify and sanctify her
      message and her sins, using something holy."

      The singer arrived in the Russian capital late Monday and kept a low
      profile, waving at fans waiting to glimpse her as she slipped into her
      downtown hotel, the Park Ararat. She work a black parka with a fur-lined
      hood, wide-legged parachute pants and dark glasses.

      Some 7,000 police officers were to be on hand in and around Luzhniki
      Stadium, on a bend in the Moscow River near Gorky Park.

      The crowd on Tuesday night numbered about 35,000, the RIA-Novosti news
      agency cited the Moscow police department as saying.

      Ten Orthodox activists were detained outside the stadium for trying to
      conduct an unsanctioned protest, the ITAR-Tass news agency said. Other
      Orthodox faithful in small groups prayed outside the stadium.

      The Russian Orthodox Church has objected to the performance, pushing hard
      for the organizers to push it back from the initially planned date of Sept.
      11 - both in a sign of respect for the victims of the terror attacks in the
      United States five years ago, and because that date coincided with a church
      holiday, the Feast of St. John the Baptist.

      The venue was also switched. The concert originally was planned for a stage
      on the Vorobyovye Gory (Sparrow Hills), overlooking the Moscow River, but
      the Orthodox Church said that would be inappropriate because two churches
      are located there. The organizers scrambled to find another site after
      police said they could not ensure security in such a sprawling area.

      City authorities pushed for the concert to be held at Tushino Airfield, the
      site of many outdoor rock extravaganzas. However, Tushino is on the
      outskirts of the city, it is anything but scenic and its security image is
      shadowed by the 2003 double suicide bombing at a concert there that killed
      14 spectators.

      Scores of Orthodox protesters, dressed in religious costume and carrying
      religious symbols, have held noisy rallies over the past few weeks to
      protest the concert.

      "We are conducting an intensive spiritual fight against her name: We are
      standing up to her satanic spirit," said Dmitry Antonov, who said belonged
      to a group called the Union of Orthodox Crusaders. "We will try to disrupt
      the concert."

      His colleague, Leonid Nikshish, said Madonna could sing whatever she wants,
      "but as soon as she starts to defile the cross, we will do everything
      possible to make sure she's kicked out of Russia and not just Russia."
      © The Canadian Press 2006
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