Russian Orthodox Church Feels Heat After Election Endorsement


MOSCOW, April 3 (Reuters) - Russia's Orthodox Church said on Tuesday it was under attack from unspecified "anti-Russian forces" seeking to erode its authority after it threw its weight behind Vladimir Putin before last month's presidential election.

The unusually strongly-worded statement listed a recent performance by an all-girl punk band in the main Moscow cathedral as well as media allegations against Patriarch Kirill as examples of such attacks.

"The attacks have become more prominent during the pre-election and post-election period, which shows their political and also anti-Russian motives," the Supreme Church Council said in a statement posted on its website.

Patriarch Kirill, seen as a modernising figure in the Russian church, the largest in Orthodox Christianity, called the 12 years of Vladimir Putin's rule a "miracle of God" ahead of the March 4 election, which Putin won convincingly.

The Church's unequivocal support for the ex-KGB spy has angered many members of the anti-Kremlin protest movement in Moscow and other large cities, who saw it as political meddling that was an abuse of the church's position in society. (Reporting by Gleb Bryanski; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

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