Belgrade, November 17, 2023
A concert by the Polish black metal band Batushka scheduled for Belgrade next week has been canceled after an outcry from faithful Orthodox Christians.
The Synod of the Estonian Church earlier protested a Batushka concert in Tallinn in September 2022. In its statement, it explained the blasphemous nature of the band’s music and performances:
This group uses the attributes of Orthodox worship in its musical productions, in particular icons, candles, and crosses, blasphemously treating Christian symbols. In addition, the lyrics and album titles of the band use Orthodox Church terminology, for example, the words “Liturgy,” “panikhida,” “litany,” “irmos,” etc. At the same time, the compilers of the texts alter the content of Christian prayers and texts from the Holy Scriptures in such a way that they become obvious blasphemy.
Additionally, the very name of the band, Batushka, is an affectionate term for a priest in the Russian tradition.
The band was formed by Krzysztof Drabikowski in Białystok, Poland, in 2015. Drabikowski spent six years studying at the famous Supraśl Monastery and is well acquainted with Orthodox services and hymnography. But instead of honoring the Lord, he uses his music to mock and blaspheme all things sacred.
Having learned of the planned concert in Belgrade, Abbot Arsenije (Jovanović) of the Monastery of Sts. Peter and Paul in the town of Mionica called on the faithful to stage a peaceful protest, calling the band “Satanists from Poland,” reports Balkanrock.
The Orthodox Culture association from Valjevo submitted a formal request to the venue to cancel the concert, and even addressed a letter to His Holiness Patriarch Porfirije as “the guardian of the sacred, the defender of tradition and morality,” entreating him to use his authority and influence to have the concert canceled.
In the end, the agency that organized the concert announced its cancelation, saying it could not guarantee the safety of the audience, band, and venue employees.