Archbishop Malkhaz – In Defence of Pussy Riot

Dear Friends,

Three Russian girls, members of punk band Pussy Riot have now been jailed for two years after staging an anti-Putin and anti-Moscow Patriarchate  protest in a Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. The girls offered a prophetic voice in the situation where the state is using the church for its political goals and the church is seeking the the symphony with state hoping to grab more power and wealth.

We may like or dislike the way the girls staged the protest but we should admit the value and significance of the protestation. A lot of people supported the girls and demanded their released from the court. There were people from artistic world, world famous artists and musicians have made their support to the girls known internationally. Representatives of various national and international NGOs and Human Rights organisations raised their voice in support. The only voices that have remained most conspicuously silent were that of churches and church leaders. Of course I am one of the silent voices. I have not done much  in support of those girls for which I am very sorry. What I could have done? I do not know. Perhaps I should have have worn a colourful balaclava in the liturgical services I have taken or just silently with a candle in my hand in front of a Russian embassy or a Russian Orthodox parish church. Both my fellow church leaders and I need to rediscover where our genuine allegiance lies, with political games or with the King of Love and Justice.

May I most humbly  ask you to pray for those girls in jail, and their young children, on every first sunday of the month in a context of Eucharistic liturgy, until they are set free? If you and your church decides to join the prayer chain for the girls do let me know. I will be ready to offer a special litany in the tradition of the churches in the East.

Sincerely yours,

+Malkhaz

Archbishop Malkhaz Songulashvili
Evangelical Baptist Church of Georgia

Author: DanutM

Anglican theologian. Former Director for Faith and Development Middle East and Eastern Europe Region of World Vision International

4 thoughts on “Archbishop Malkhaz – In Defence of Pussy Riot”

  1. Danut,

    I am so disappointed by this Malkhaz letter. This is the last cause in the world for which I would fight. If anything can be done in the name of protest, where is the limit? Blaspheme to show support for the whales? Betray Jesus to bring attention to rigged elections?

    “Have we even heard what filth was shouted out in the cathedral? Read these words and dare to suggest that this was all about President Putin:

    Holy shit, shit, Lord’s shit!
    Holy shit, shit, Lord’s shit!
    St. Maria, Virgin, become a feminist…
    Patriarch Gundyaev believes in Putin
    Bitch, you better believe in God

    …If this defilement had taken place in an American synagogue or in an American Muslim mosque, you can well bet the media and the White House would have responded differently.” ~ Abbot Tryphon

    Mihai

    Like

    1. You may be, my friend, but, as an Orthodox, I suggest you should be even more disappointed by the Russian Orthodox Patriarch being ‘in bed with the enemy’, I mean the autocratic power of the KGB trained Putin.
      Between this poor band and Putin I certainly find Putin, and by association, the Orthodox hierarchy, much more dangerous.

      Like

  2. My dear friend Danut,

    You evaded my question: does political protest justify blasphemy? You seem to answer Yes.

    Is Putin so bad that you can throw garbage on the face of millions of Orthodox faithful in order to protest against him? Putin did not start wars as some of the recent American presidents. You can worship God or Allah in Russia without government intervention. You can write and speak your political opinions. You can do business and you can travel. Can he be better? Probably yes, but as long as people can live their lives and exercise their faiths in peace, why bother?

    Church leaders of all colors have always supported their worldly governments as long as they were not grossly immoral or evil. This is a GOOD Christian tradition, starting with Jesus who told us to give to Cesar what is due to Cesar. Would you like the Russian Orthodox Church to become an instrument in the hands of American geopolitical goals? In Kosovo the KLA regime installed by the West has dynamited 150 churches and I did not see the Anglican Church protest. Putin has rebuilt the Cathedral of Christ the Savior destroyed by Stalin. Why would the Patriarch fight against him?

    There were hundreds of thousands of Orthodox Russians who died in the 20th century for their faith. I bet these Pussy Riot girls cared for publicity more than for Putin. For a failed artist all publicity is good publicity. They were raised from the rank of nobodies to the rang of world celebrities. Now they are supported by celebrities like Madonna or Paul McCartney and more recently by a group of bare breasts girls who cut with a chainsaw a cross raised in Kiev in the memory of Christian martyrs.

    See the news bellow:

    “An activist from women’s rights group Femen uses a chainsaw to cut down a Christian cross, erected in memory of victims of political repressions under the Soviet dictator Josef Stalin regime, near the Oktyabrsky Palace in central Kiev, August 17, 2012. Activists organized the demonstration to support jailed members of the female punk band Pussy Riot, according to participants. ”

    If you agree with this types of protests, you may even enjoy the picture: http://www.trust.org/alertnet/multimedia/pictures/detail.dot?mediaInode=07724d5f-b528-4083-bb12-737dc03f5fc3

    Mihai

    Like

    1. My dear friend,
      You are right that I have not answered directly to your question, but I wanted to make the precise point in which, as it is obvious in your response, you disagree with.
      And, No, I don;t think that political protest justifies blasphemy (even if, on the precise act of this punk group it remains to be proved that it is blasphemy). What is obvious for me, is that it was an insensitive act towards the sensitivities of sincere believers in that church. AS to Kirill and Putin, they both deserve much much more.
      Putin is much worse that what I have said and your attempt at describing him as a sympathetic to faith is unconvincing. He does not qualify even for the ‘benevolent dictator’ position. He is a rotten communist and a criminal, who uses the mafia led by the Chechen leader to kill his political enemies, including journalists. Don’t tell me how good is this man.
      He is good to the Orthodox, as long as they obey Kirill, who is ‘in bed’ with him.But you would not dare to compare, in good conscience, the freedom you have in America, as an (Orthodox) religious minority, with the situation of religious minorities in Russia. You, as an Orthodox do not seem to be sensitive to their suffering (although, as a Christian you should be concerned even for the suffering of the heretics and of atheists), as long as the freedom of your Orthodoxo sisters and brothers is not touched.
      We are all partial in our judgements on these matters, so I am not too concerned, even if I will continue to pint it out to you.
      Putin did not start wars? He has just admitted (you find it on my blog) what we already knew: the he (not Saakashvili) was the one who started the war in Georgia (an Orthodox country, about which, it seems, you care less than about the Big Baer). The Gospel of Jesus Christ calls me to side with the oppressed, NOT the oppressor, be that a ‘Christian’ oppressor.
      And, I don’t find it fair for you to mention Anglicanism, since it has nothing to do with this discussion. This is not a very friendly sting. And it adds nothing to the conversation.
      But, if we are to talk about Kosova, while being keenly aware of what Muslim extremists have done (Unlike you, I have been there many times and I have supported well meaning Orthodox in the province – both Serbs and Albanians), why don’t you also mention the murders committed by Arkan and his band of ‘Orthodox’ criminals, with the blessing of the Orthodox bishop Artemie, a mad nationalist who is still troubling Kosova, although he was deposed, as he fully deserved, by the present Serbian Patriarch.
      Things are always more complex than they seem and, I admit, keeping balance is not always easy, or even possible. All we can do is to remain open to the truth, even when it is uncomfortable to us and our own.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s