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Vandals Deface Orthodox Church in Geneva

Paint on the facade of the defaced Russian Orthodox cathedral in Geneva.

Vandals smudged red and purple paint on a Russian Orthodox cathedral in Genevа and wrote slogans including, "Social peace is corrupted" and "revolution solidarity" on the pavement nearby, the Geneva and West European Diocese said.

The attack was carried out early Monday morning on the Cathedral of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, which is affiliated with the Russian Orthodox Church, following a string of assaults on Russian Orthodox churches in recent weeks in Russia and Ukraine.

The other recent attacks were apparently the work of supporters of punk band Pussy Riot, three of whose members received two-year prison sentences in mid-August for a February performance denouncing the Russian authorities in a Moscow cathedral.

Last Wednesday, an appellate court confirmed the sentences for two of the convicted members and replaced the term of the third with a suspended sentence and released her.

It was not immediately clear who might have been behind the attack on the Geneva church or their motivations. Repeated calls to the diocese and an e-mailed inquiry to the press office of the Genevа police went unanswered Tuesday.

The vandals apparently used fire extinguishers filled with paint to draw the slogans and to sully the southern facade of the church and its stained glass windows, the diocese said.

Photographs posted by the diocese on its website showed a red splotch a few meters wide on one side of the cathedral along with several other smaller spots of paint. Slogans in French were written on the sidewalk around the church in pink and neon green paint.

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