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Russian clergyman quits church after Pussy Riot verdict

By Arturo Garcia
Monday, September 3, 2012 9:30 EDT
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A deacon in the Russian Orthodox Church says he has been the target of a smear campaign since asking to be defrocked to protest various church scandals, including last month’s imprisonment of the punk band Pussy Riot.

“It was the very last straw when I realized that concepts such as mercy and forgiveness had been shredded to pieces,” Sergey Baranov told the Australian Broadcast Company in a report aired Sunday.

The band was sentenced to two years in jail last month for “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred” after it performed a “punk prayer” at the church’s main cathedral. The protest song was a response to corrupt parliamentary elections and in anticipation of the presidential election in March that was widely believed to be rigged to grant Putin his third presidency.

Baranov had been a part of the church for 15 years but says it has been getting too close to Putin. In sharing his decision to leave on his Facebook page, he also mentioned recent displays of inappropriate wealth by church officials, such as the $30,000 watch caught in a photograph of church Patriarch Kirill I before being edited out, and reports that two priests were driving drunk in luxury cars when they got into accidents earlier this year.

“The church-state merger is such that it causes not only mistrust amongst the people but the people think very negatively about that,” he said.

Watch the ABC’s report on Baranov’s departure, aired Sunday, below.

Arturo Garcia
Arturo Garcia
Arturo R. García is the managing editor at Racialicious.com. He is based in San Diego, California and has written for both print and broadcast media, including contributions to GlobalComment.com, The Root and Comment Is Free. Follow him on Twitter at @ABoyNamedArt
 
 
 
 
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