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Orthodox Church in Russia, abroad against Moscow gay parade

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The Russian Orthodox Church's two ruling bodies representing believers in Russia and overseas reiterated their opposition Tuesday to a gay pride parade planned for Moscow.

MOSCOW, May 23 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian Orthodox Church's two ruling bodies representing believers in Russia and overseas reiterated their opposition Tuesday to a gay pride parade planned for Moscow.

"The Moscow Patriarchy and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia have common opinions on homosexuality and are against holding a gay parade," said Archpriest Nikolai Balashov, the secretary of the Moscow Patriarchy's inter-Orthodox relations department.

Gay and lesbian communities in Russia have been lobbying to hold a gay parade in Moscow on May 27 to mark the 13th anniversary of homosexuality being legalized in Russia.

Foreign pressure groups have joined the chorus asking for the Moscow mayor's office to allow the event, but opposition has been strong within the country, especially from the church. An Orthodox priest was seen blessing a group - many holding religious banners - that attacked a gay nightclub in Moscow in late April.

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