Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Maybe don't do acrobatics inside a church?

(RT) - A video of a performance of acrobats and Brazilian ethnic dancing inside a major church that was sanctioned by its leaders has provoked outrage from both clergy and congregants, particularly after other Russians have been jailed for violating religious spaces.

The clip from the White Flower festival, which was held on Easter at the Nativity of the Blessed Mary Church in Peremyshl in the Kaluga Region, south of Moscow, was originally uploaded by the official church website. It was then picked up by a popular YouTube channel, where it has garnered 25,000 views and overwhelmingly negative comments.

The amateur footage features sequined child acrobats performing flips next to the altar, with icons in the background, followed by a dance from a local art school led by a man in a red headband, wielding a traditional Brazilian percussion bow called a berimbau.
The Kaluga eparchy has released a statement saying that unusually cold April weather forced the performances to move indoors, noting that White Flower was a charity fundraising festival that has become an annual tradition.

But this is unlikely to placate all critics, particularly considering that the incident comes in the midst of an ongoing court case, in which a prominent blogger faces jail for uploading footage of himself playing Pokemon Go in church.

An avowed atheist, 22-year-old Ruslan Sokolovsky could spend three and a half years behind bars for “offending the feeling of believers” for posting a series of anti-religious videos, including one in which he struggles to catch Jesus – “a particularly rare Pokemon” – in a Ekaterinburg church.

Similar to Sokolovsky, the Russian performance art group Pussy Riot challenged the Orthodox establishment and authorities when they performed a blasphemous song in Moscow’s main Christ the Savior Cathedral in 2012. Two of its members were jailed for 21 months on hooliganism charges, and legislation was subsequently passed that specifically targets sacrilegious displays.


  1. There is an earnest and well-intended belief out there that the Global South will save traditional Christianity.

  2. Moscow, May 3, Interfax - The Russian church official spoke against using church premises for secular performances.

    "I can understand extraordinary circumstances (we wanted to perform outside, but the weather got cold and we had to perform at the church) and missionary attempts. But I don't think that all such things justify such actions. The church is a place for prayer, for communicating to God," head of the Synodal Department for Church, Society and Media Relations Vladimir Legoyda wrote on Wednesday at his page in a social net commenting performances, dances and acrobatic feats in certain Russian churches.

    The church official accepts that it is possible to use church premises in the time free from celebrating divine services for conversations in Evangelical topics, especially when the church does not have other room.

    "Any creative activity at the parish is welcomed, but it is better to hold it outside the space where the liturgy is celebrated. I think it is quite evident," he summed up.