Dear Patriarch Kirlll,
First, the plainspoken title notwithstanding I want to send you my sincerest Easter greetings. Christ is risen.
I realize that I, an outspoken feminist Quaker from the US have absolutely NO standing to be sending you greetings on Easter, one of the holiest holidays of the Orthodox Christian year, and I am sending greetings regardless. I am sending sincere greetings from my own heart with no pretense of speaking for anyone else either in the US, in Russia or anywhere else. I am sending greetings in a spirit of faith and of renewal.
I am also sending greetings in English witht the proviso that translation into Russian may be beyond my Light on a timeline appropriate for the holiday. Nor do I apologize for Quakerly language, the phrasing which works best for me in speaking of my faith and spiritual practices. If you would like a tutorial, I expect something could be arranged.
I particularly want to commend to you the ministry of the punk band Pussy Riot who performed to global acclaim in Christ the Savior cathedral in February. I have read your splutting concerns about blasphemy. I have heard your distress that, as you put it, the Devil is laughing at us and that you feel the cathedral was defiled and during Lent at that. I have read that 3 band members, mothers of young children, have been arrested and charged with hooliganism.
I am sure you are a much more learned Biblical scholar than I but let us begin with the thought that God is everywhere, not just in cathedrals. God is present and sorely needed on the streets and aboard buses, trains, other transport; in homes, at workplaces, in kindergartens, schools, daycare centers, in markets; throughout our forms of entertainment, libraries, throughout the wide and multi-faceted world, on farms, in mines and factories, throughout the environment.
I do not want to trivialize either cathedrals themselves or what the cathedrals mean to you. But have you considered the idea that, far from desecration, the Pussy Riot performance reflected consecration? Pussy Riot invoked Mary Mother of God and brought deep and urgent concerns to church to lay before God and man! I cannot think of a more profound gesture of faith!
I know the Russian Orthodox Church sees itself as fully entwined in the spiritual and political health of the Russian state. I deeply respect the women of Pussy Riot for their care of and concern about Russia, for free and democratic elections.
Here I need to call out a concern. God surely knows who are Pussy Riot whether or not they wear their brightly colored balaklavas. I admire the knitting / crochet skills of whoever makes the balaklavas. However, the balaklavas make the women of Pussy Riot look like fashion-conscious bank robbers or maybe especially intellectual ski bums. I would find it a much clearer manifestation of vital democratic experience for the women to be able to perform openly with their faces uncovered!
I like many Quakers strive to live my life the best I can as a realization of the Kingdom of God. I hope that you will come to see the visitation by Pussy Riot to the Christ the Savior cathedral as a powerful movement of God.
Again, warmest Easter greetings!
RantWoman thanks Stasa at http://aquakerwitch.blogspot.com/2009/02/explicit-meeting-for-worship.html for a post title that allows her readers to ease in gently to an Orthodox Easter meditation on the Russian punk band Pussy Riot and their February performance at Christ the Savior cathedral in Moscow.
The performers sang to Mary, Mother of God or sort of literally from the Russian word, Mary, she who gives birth to God. They denounced Vladimir Putin's candidacy for President and called on Patriarch Kirill and Orthodox believers to oppose Putin in this year's elections. For their trouble, 3 members of the group have been arrested and charged with hooliganism, a charge that carries a possible 7-year prison sentence.
Readers led to follow Pussy Riot stories are invited to put the group's name into the search engine of their choice and to proceed as led.
Readers who want to lecture me about the protocol of addressing the Patriarch of All Russia are invited to submit a comment just like anyone else.
In the Light