2012-08-15 15:57:00

Prayer against hatred to be said at Vienna church after pro-Pussy Riot escapade

Moscow, August 15, Interfax - A prayer for the eradication of hatred and rancor will be conducted at the church of the Moscow Patriarchate in Vienna on Thursday.

"The Church will give its response to the provocation staged at the Vienna cathedral by Pussy Riot punk singer's anonymous supporters," Archbishop Mark of the Russian Orthodox Church's Vienna Diocese, told Interfax.

Three visitors entered the St. Nicholas Cathedral in Vienna on Tuesday and two of them lit candles, he said. There was a security guard and a cleaning woman in the church, who did not pay attention to the visitors. Meanwhile, the two rose to the ambo, unfurled a poster reading, "God Loves Pussy Riot, Free Pussy Riot," took photographs of each other and left, he said.

The church warden will report the incident to police, Archbishop Mark said. "Religion is something treated with extreme care in Austria: there are about a dozen national religious holidays in Austria and we hope police will not leave this provocation without attention," he said.

The Vienna cathedral is Russia's property, he said, noting that "the Russian embassy will hopefully react."

"All this is disgusting and outrageous. People who do this do not understand what they are doing. If they want to express themselves this way, let them go to the streets and squares," he added.

After a verdict is handed down to Pussy Riot, supporters' activity will hopefully wane, "but the incident in the Vienna church will not go unnoticed," he said.

Archbishop Mark said he did not particularly care about what the outcome of the Pussy Riot trial will be like - three years in jail, or a shorter term or a suspended sentence."

"I am sorry for these people, the victims of the propaganda of the sin and lies. We remember how they behaved not only at the Christ the Savior Cathedral, but in other places, as well, at the Zoological Museum, for instance. I think the public has been disorientated and drawn into an appalling lie," he said.

He said he doubts the "democratic bias" of Pussy Riot supporters, "who want to put pressure on the court."