Christ is Risen!
This entire incident was dealt with incorrectly. The way it was handled only added resentment on both sides. The Patriarch of Moscow should have initiated a meeting with these individuals and discussed their grievances. Instead, the uncalled actions by a few were blown out of proportion. The punishment should have been x amount of hours of community service. For example, cleaning the inside of Christ the Saviour Cathedral, under strict supervision, or attending structured lectures about the New Martyrs and exactly what took place with the Orthodox Church under Communism. It is a very fine line with the Russian Orthodox Church, considering the tumultuous period under Communism and the now growing secularism from the West.
The following was written by Abbot Tryphon, from the "morning offering blogspot". I feel the article puts things into perspective and addresses other important factors to be considered.
"Our courts have aggressively moved to push the Christian Faith further from the public forum. Attacks toward public displays of religious themes, such as the Ten Commandments, the Nativity Creches, and even crosses from the graves of soldiers, have increasingly become the norm. There is even a movement to force the police and fire department chaplains to remove the cross from their badges, something we've all vowed to resist. This aggressive move towards secularism has increasingly become a part of American foreign policy, with the move to pressure other countries to follow our lead. Just as the Russian Revolution was supported, in the very beginning, by the anti-monarchist sentiments of the American government, so too, are we seeing an increase in the negative attitudes of the American government towards the rise in power and influence, of the Russian Orthodox Church. At a time when our government leaders are pushing Christianity from the public forum, we criticize the Russian government because of it's close ties with the Russian Orthodox Church. We even question the sincerity of Russian leaders Orthodox Faith, perhaps because we know that many of our leaders have put on the veneer of being Christian for political survival. Russians know the dangers of aggressive secularism, having suffered seventy years of state sponsored atheism, and many Russians look with amazement at what they see as American capitulation to a secularism that has promoted a sort of state atheism of it's own. That the Moscow Patriarchate would seek the prosecution of the group pussy riot, for the desecration of Christ the Saviour Cathedral, with their "punk at prayer", invasion of tis sacred temple of GOd, has been greeted by so many Americans as a simple fact of childishness that should be forgiven, is further indication of just how far we have fallen as a Christian nation. We no longer see anything as a sacrilege, because we hold nothing to be sacred. The Moscow Patriarchate has announced a "war on aggressive liberalism", and called upon believers to fight the "anti-clerical forces" and "false values of aggressive liberalism". The Patriarch will not sit back complacently, and watch a replay of the rise of anti-Church forces that hurled the Russian people into the dark days of the Communist aggression against the Church, and against believers. The same forces that are aggressively seeking to discredit the clergy, divide Russian society, and turn Russians away from their temples, is at work in the United States."
(The rest of the article can be found on the website mentioned above.)