The leader of the Russian Orthodox Church said gay pride parades were part of the reason for the war in Ukraine.
Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, a long-time ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, said on Sunday that the conflict in Donbas is about “a fundamental rejection of the so-called values that are offered today by those who claim world power.”
The “test” of which side you are on, said Kirill, is whether your country is willing to hold gay pride parades.
“In order to enter the club of those countries, it is necessary to hold a gay pride parade. Not to make a political statement, ‘we are with you,’ not to sign any agreements, but to hold a gay parade. And we know how people resist these demands and how this resistance is suppressed by force,” Kirill said during a sermon in Moscow.
Kirill categorized the war as a struggle of “metaphysical significance,” for humanity to follow God’s laws.
“What is happening today in the sphere of international relations has not only political significance. We are talking about something different and much more important than politics. We are talking about human salvation,” he said.
“If we see violations of [God’s] law, we will never put up with those who destroy this law, blurring the line between holiness and sin, and even more so with those who promote sin as an example or as one of the models of human behavior,” Kirill said.
“Around this topic today there is a real war,” he said.
Patriarch Kirill is a major religious figure in Russia, where the Russian Orthodox religion is considered an integral part of Russian identity. He has come under pressure from within his own church since the beginning of the war to denounce Putin’s aggression, but his public statements so far have failed to do that. On the contrary, Kirill’s language has lent support to Putin’s vision of a spiritual and temporal Russian empire.