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Russian Orthodox Church condemns sale of relics on Internet

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The Moscow Patriarchy has condemned as "blasphemous" and "immoral" the attempted sale of purportedly sacred religious relics on a Russian Web site, a Russian Orthodox Church spokesman said Tuesday.
MOSCOW, February 6 (RIA Novosti) - The Moscow Patriarchy has condemned as "blasphemous" and "immoral" the attempted sale of purportedly sacred religious relics on a Russian Web site, a Russian Orthodox Church spokesman said Tuesday.

"It is an immoral act in any event. If these are indeed holy relics, it is an outrageous blasphemy. If these are the remains of an ordinary person, then it is the desecration of a deceased person" said Vsevolod Chaplin, deputy head of the Moscow Patriarchy's department for external relations.

On the site, a seller who goes by the name of Boris Georgiev from St. Petersburg, has offered to sell "to connoisseurs of Russian antiquity the remains of an Orthodox saint (a skull in good condition and the bone of upper arm) that ended up in a private collection in the 1920s."

The Web ad includes an e-mail address, a telephone number and a photo of the "items."

Chaplin said that when the Moscow Patriarchy learned of the ad, it called the number and confirmed that the relics were indeed for sale.

He said that this was the first such attempt to sell sacred relics in Russia, adding that in religious practice sacred relics are never sold but transferred.

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