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Moscow: 40,000 rally to defend Orthodox Church against 'anti-Russian' criticism

April 23, 2012

At least 40,000 people gathered in Moscow on April 22 to express support for the Russian Orthodox Church, after a series of unfavorable media reports calling attention to ties between the Moscow patriarchate and the Russian government.

“We are under attack by anti-Russian forces,” Patriarch Kirill told the crowd that met in front of the Christ the Savior cathedral. “The danger is that blasphemy and mockery of religion are presented as a legitimate expression of human freedom, which must be protected in modern society.”

The show of strength came just 2 days after a court that three young women, who form the punk-rock group Pussy Riot, should remain in prison until June 24 while authorities “investigate” their performance of a song mocking the Moscow patriarchate for its support of President Vladimir Putin.

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  • Posted by: spledant7672 - Apr. 23, 2012 11:55 PM ET USA

    Why would Patriarch Kirill not call for the release of the three young women?