In his often insightful and controversial blogpost, ‘Archbishop Cranmer’ rightly questions the motivation of the Russian Orthodox Muscovite Patriarch Kirrill, in his recent diatribe against LGBTI+ people in the Ukraine, citing their celebration of Gay Pride Week as the main reason for his support of President Putin’s vicious attack on Ukrainian territory.
This political support for the injustice of Putin’s attack on its near neighbour may yet be a sign of the Russian Orthodox Church’s puppet relationship to the Russian State. However, the Patriarch’s political stance is seen by many Western Christians as an alliance with the forces of evil – excused, in this instance, by recourse to an outdated understanding of the human condition that begs theological justification.
Putin’s known homophobic attitude would seem – to the Russian Patriarch – to be sufficient reason the justify the horrific incursion into the population of the Ukraine with acts of violence and a callous disregard for human life; irrespective of the proffered reason given for Putin’s callous attacks on Russia’s nearest neighbour.
The problem is that this intentional alignment with the Russian President is clearly seen by other Christians as a political endorsement by the Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch of his country’s repressive and murderous attack on Russia’s neighbour – not because of any threat from the Ukraine, but because of a fear of moral pressure from a recognised minority who want to claim their right to life. What would Jesus do in this situation? Not, I believe, align himself with a power-hungry demagogue in his pursuit of a doubtful pogrom of moral superiority.
Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand
Patriarch Kirill: Ukraine is paying for its Gay Pride
Archbishop Cranmer Blog
March 7, 2022
We know that Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow, doesn’t recognise the His Beatitude Epiphanius of Kyiv and All Ukraine, and that he wants the schismatic Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Ukraine to return to the fold of the Russian Orthodox Church, but we didn’t know until yesterday what tortuous theological gymnastics he would go to in order to justify Vladimir Putin’s attack on Ukraine.
In his sermon on Forgiveness Sunday, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and all Russia celebrated the Divine Liturgy at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow, and after he’d spoken about Lent and piety and the coming spiritual spring, he reminded his flock of the importance of following Divine laws “in order not to perish either in this world or in the world to come”. He continued: “But we know that this spring has been overshadowed by grave events related to the deterioration of the political situation in the Donbass, practically the outbreak of hostilities. I would like to say something on this subject.”
And, boy, did he say something:
For eight years there have been attempts to destroy what exists in the Donbass. And in the Donbass there is rejection, a fundamental rejection of the so-called values that are offered today by those who claim world power. Today there is such a test for the loyalty of this government, a kind of pass to that “happy” world, the world of excess consumption, the world of visible “freedom”. Do you know what this test is? The test is very simple and at the same time terrible — it’s a gay parade. The demands on many to hold a gay parade are a test of loyalty to that very powerful world; and we know that if people or countries reject these demands, then they do not enter into that world, they become strangers to it.
But we know what this sin is, which is promoted through the so-called marches of dignity. This is a sin that is condemned by the Word of God — both the Old and the New Testament. Moreover, the Lord, condemning sin, does not condemn the sinner. He only calls him to repentance, but not to ensure that through a sinful person and his behavior, sin becomes a life standard, a variation of human behavior — respected and acceptable.
If humanity recognizes that sin is not a violation of God’s law, if humanity agrees that sin is one of the options for human behavior, then human civilization will end there. And gay parades are designed to demonstrate that sin — is one of the variations of human behavior. That is why 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. This means that we are talking about imposing by force a sin condemned by God’s law, and therefore, by force to impose on people the denial of God and His truth.
Therefore, 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, about where humanity will end up, on which side of God the Savior, who comes into the world as the Judge and Creator, on the right or on the left. Today, out of weakness, stupidity, ignorance, and most often out of unwillingness to resist, many go there, to the left side. And all that is connected with the justification of sin, condemned by the Bible, is today a test for our faithfulness to the Lord, for our ability to confess faith in our Saviour.
So the faithful remnant of Russian Orthodoxy in Donbass in eastern Ukraine have heroically resisted the dreaded Gay Pride for the past eight years, while the rest of the country (which isn’t really a country) has sunk into moral turpitude. President Putin is God’s chosen vessel for meting out divine retribution on the sodomites, and so Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a holy war to ensure the salvation of souls.
Whatever one thinks of private homosexual acts or the societal freedom to take part in Gay Pride marches, it is difficult to understand Kirill’s reasoning from a Christian point of view. He seems to be saying that because President Zelenskiy permits gay pride marches, then innocent men may be summarily shot, and women and children bombed to kingdom come. His view of divine retribution seems to lean on a distinctly Old Testament understanding: Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed because they were steeped in unnatural sexual sin, and Ukraine’s destruction is a similar day of judgment; a prototype for God’s eschatological judgment and salvation of the cosmos.
This isn’t only devoid of mercy and compassion; it is profoundly anti-Christian.
Marina Yatsko and her boyfriend Fedor comfort each other after her 18-month-old son Kirill was killed by shelling in Mariupol, Ukraine, on Friday 4th March. “Why, why, why?” wailed the distressed young mother.
“Little Kirill had to die because of the sin of Gay Pride,” explained Patriarch Kirill.
All the destruction, all the devastation, and the intolerable despair of a million refugees is justified because of Gay Pride.
Judgment belongs to the Lord, not to Vladimir Putin. If LGBT people want to march lawfully in “that ‘happy’ world, the world of excess consumption, the world of visible ‘freedom'”, it is not for their more fundamentalist religious neighbour to invade that happiness or abolish that freedom in order to impose a more ‘robust’ theological view of sexual morality. But Kirill, having already defrocked and excommunicated the Patriarch of the Ukrainain Orthodox Church, is now plagued by Epiphanius and an increasingly united autocephalous expression of Orthodoxy centred in Kyiv, which, to his immense irritation, has been recognised by the Patriarch of Constantinople.
If attacking the gays on Forgiveness Sunday can inspire a bit more Orthodox unity, then Kirill’s sermon will have achieved its purpose. But it isn’t Christianity; it is evil.