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29-03-2010 18:47
 
ENGLISH VERSION: On a propaganda campaign against a community of Orthodox Christians in St. Petersburg

Recently, the state-controlled Russian mass media has started a propaganda campaign against a community of Orthodox Christians in St. Petersburg. The Orthodox Church of St. Elizabeth the New Martyr, belongs to the Russian Autonomous Orthodox Church (ROAC) and is not part of the State Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate). Starting from 15 March, 2010, TV news (at prime time), newspapers, Internet sites continuously reported of the "unmasking" of a group of "false priests" who extort money from the public by using "fake relics" of the Saints and by holding "mock" memorial services for the reposed. The rhetoric used by the media has followed faithfully the lines of the Soviet-era anti-religious propaganda. At the same time, a criminal inquiry was launched by the police against St. Elizabeth’s Church, on the basis of the alleged "public fraud." The church was searched by police (attended by Special Forces) and officers of the so-called Department E ("E" standing for Extremism) of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation. Bishop Gregory Lourie (the head of this community), as well as other clergy and some parishioners were interrogated. (...)


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