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Russian Orthodox church forgives Pussy Riot

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Aug. 18, 2012, 4 p.m. | Russia and former Soviet Union — by Associated Press

Feminist punk group Pussy Riot members, from left, Maria Alekhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova sit in a glass cage at a court room in Moscow, Russia on Friday, Aug. 17, 2012.
© AP

Associated Press

Associated Press

Two top clerics in the Russian Orthodox Church say it has forgiven the members of feminist punk band Pussy Riot who were convicted of hooliganism and sent to prison for briefly taking over a cathedral in a raucous prayer for deliverance from Vladimir Putin.

Tikhon Shevkunov, who heads Moscow's Sretensky Monastery and is widely believed to be Putin's spiritual counselor, said on state TV Saturday that his church forgave the singers right after their "punk prayer" in the Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow.

Archpriest Maxim Kozlov agreed, but he also said on state TV that his church hopes the young women and their supporters "realize that their acts are awful."

Both clerics supported a court's decision to prosecute Pussy Riot, despite an international outcry that criticized it as unfair.

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