The Khamovnichesky District Court, which was forwarded the case by prosecutors Thursday, will decide on a trial date and whether to keep the trio in detention, where the women have been held since March, Interfax reported. The women face up to seven years in prison if convicted.
The charges passed to the court Thursday state that the women "caused significant damage to the sacred values of the church … and in a blasphemous manner disgraced the ancient foundations of the Russian Orthodox Church."
One observer criticized the charges' use of religious language, saying it was out of place in a state document.
"The wording is appalling, medieval," Nikolai Shaburov, head of the Religious Studies Research Center at Russian State University for the Humanities, told Nezavisimaya Gazeta in an article published Friday.
"We still have a secular government, after all. We have no such formulations in the criminal code," Shaburov said.
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