“Jesus Christ Superstar” Performance Canceled Due to Religious Outrage in Belarus

Telegraf.by reports (Russian language version here):

Homel eparchy of Belarusian Orthodox Church has succeeded in [cancellation] of performance of the St. Petersburg Theatre “Rock Opera,” which arrived in Belarus on a tour with the rock opera “Jesus Christ – Superstar.” The local authorities were requested to abolish the rock opera. The believers’ [outrage] was also caused by the fact that the performance was scheduled for March 4 (the first Sunday of the Lent). The rock opera show was also disrupted in Minsk.

According to Homel [local government], it was not planned to cancel the performance but only to reschedule it for another day. However, the artists have cancelled the tour themselves and now are not going to stage in Homel in the near future, [said] Head of Culture of the executive committee Oleg Ryzhkov, “Komsomolskaya Pravda in Belarus.”

[But] the official report of St. Petersburg Theater [in Homel] says that the play was not voluntarily canceled but banned. “Due to the aggressive position, taken by a number of leaders of the Orthodox dioceses in Belarus, the play was banned in several cities of the tour.”

“The local departments of culture allegedly received letters from “outraged believers” with the requirement to prohibit the “profane” rock opera. Meeting the “wishes of the workers,” some secular cultural institutions denied admission to our theater. As a result, the show was cancelled in four out of five cities. As it turned out, the performance of the theater in Brest was in jeopardy. Thus, contrary to all sorts of contractual practices, the theater had been notified in advance about the show cancellation in Mahiliou,” noted the theater “Rock opera.”

For more, see the Christian Post and RIA Novosti. Thanks to Prof. Howard Friedman (Religion Clause) for the pointer.