A group of radical Orthodox believers have set a poster of Madonna on fire to “drive the demons out.” They accuse the singer, who publicly supports punk band Pussy Riot, of “blasphemy,” saying, however, that she still has a chance to repent.
To perform the ritual, the Orthodox Standard-bearers Union members gathered across the river from the Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow, where five months ago Pussy Riot sang their scandalous “punk prayer.”
The Standard-bearers started by singing an Orthodox prayer, then the union’s leader, Leonid Simonovich, gave a speech accusing Madonna of “committing sacrilege.”
“We are not against her as a person, we are against the sacrilege and blasphemy she is committing, just like we are against the blasphemy performed by Pussy Riot in Christ the Savior Cathedral,” he explained.
Simonovich went on to explain why the poster of Madonna they were burning was blasphemous, calling her look “disgusting” and accusing her of “black magic.”
“We are destroying this image to drive a demon out of it,” he proclaimed before his supporters set the poster on fire.
“She is going to hell!” Simonovich said after the poster was destroyed, but reiterated that his group is not against Madonna in particular and if she repents, they will accept her repentance.
“We are going to fight against all such Madonnas, Pussy Riots, and all others who practice black magic and insult the Russian Orthodox Church and Russian nation,” he proclaimed at the end of proceedings.
On Tuesday Madonna gave a concert at one of the Moscow’s biggest concert halls, attracting an audience of several thousand. During the concert she sent a message of support to Pussy Riot, referring to all three detained activists by their names. As she turned her back to the audience, the crowds could see the words “Pussy Riot” written on her back.
The Orthodox Standard-bearers Union is notorious for the various extravagant events they stage in the name of religion, such as burning Harry Potter books, taking part in dispersing crowds during the Gay Pride parade in Moscow in 2006 under the slogan “Moscow is not Sodom”, or the burial of a toy monkey to protest Darwin’s theory of evolution.