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Russian Orthodox leader lays blame for war on West’s policies


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John Burger - published on 03/09/22 - updated on 04/07/22

Patriarch Kirill says that the world is in a battle that is not only physical but metaphysical as well.

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The leader of the Russian Orthodox Church asserted that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine had a lot to do with Western countries’ support of the homosexual agenda.

On Sunday, Patriarch Kirill, during Divine Liturgy in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow, referred to the war in Ukraine – but only as “grave events related to the deterioration of the political situation in Donbas.”

Donbas is the region in Eastern Ukraine where Russian-backed separatists in 2014 asserted independence in the oblasts of Donetsk and Luhansk, leading to an eight-year conflict that has claimed some 14,000 lives. Russian President Vladimir Putin, having spent the better part of a year massing 190,000 troops along Ukraine’s borders, last month recognized the independence of the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics and responded to their requests for military assistance. On February 24, Putin announced a “special military operation,” as he launched a full-scale attack on military installations across Ukraine.

That “operation,” which is never referred to by Russian authorities as a war, is now almost two weeks old. It has led to the deaths of thousands of combatants and civilians, massive infrastructure damage, and the largest refugee crisis in Europe since the Second World War.

Tass, the Russian news agency, said that Putin ordered the “special military operation” in response to “a request by the heads of the Donbas republics … in order to protect people ‘who have been suffering from abuse and genocide by the Kyiv regime for eight years.’ The Russian leader stressed that Moscow had no plans of occupying Ukrainian territories.”

Orthodox leader warns of sin’s threat to civilization

“For eight years there have been attempts to destroy what exists in Donbas,” Kirill said, according to a DeepL translation of the text of his homily. “And in Donbas there is a rejection, a fundamental rejection of the so-called values that are offered today by those who claim world power. Today there is a test of loyalty to this power, a certain pass to the ‘happy’ world, the world of excessive consumption, the world of apparent ‘freedom.’

“Do you know what this test is?” he continued. “The test is very simple and at the same time terrible: it is the Gay Pride parade. The demand for many to have a gay pride parade is the test for loyalty to that very powerful world; and we know that if people or countries reject these demands, they are not part of that world; they become strangers to it.”

Kirill said that such “marches of dignity” promote sin, and that if humanity accepts that sin as merely “a variation of human behavior, then human civilization will end there.”

Pushback from the West

Russia received much pushback from the West over its 2013 law “for the Purpose of Protecting Children from Information Advocating for a Denial of Traditional Family Values.” Last year, the European Commission Against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) called for the “protection of sexual minorities” in the country. 

“The calls to prioritize the repeal of the legal ban on the provision of information about homosexuality to minors are legally null and void, and are nothing else but interference in Russia’s internal affairs,” Ivan Soltanovsky, Russia’s permanent representative to the Council of Europe, said at the time

Also in 2021, the European Court of Human Rights ordered Russia to recognize same-sex unions

The Biden Administration has directed all U.S. government departments and agencies engaged abroad to ensure that U.S. diplomacy and foreign assistance “promote and protect the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex persons around the world.”

Reproductive rights

On a separate but similar issue of what has been described as the West’s “cultural imperialism,” an official with UNFPA – the United Nations’ Population Fund – called for greater reproductive healthcare in Ukraine. Jaime Nadal, the representative to Ukraine at UNFPA, made the comment during a discussion of the dire need for humanitarian corridors for refugees to escape Russia’s bombing and siege of Ukrainian cities such as Mariupol, a port city on the Sea of Azov. He noted that many pregnant women were caught up in the crisis.

“We don’t want any woman to lose her life giving birth,” Nadal said, describing the primitive conditions in which people are being treated and the lack of medicine in many cases. “We are seeing women having their deliveries in makeshift shelters, in metro stations, by the hundreds, if not thousands right now,” he said in an interview on National Public Radio Tuesday. He said the UN is appealing for humanitarian corridors to ensure the provision of “basic life-saving services, including reproductive health for pregnant women.” 

For the UN, “reproductive healthcare” includes abortion. 

Patriarch Kirill, on Sunday, commented that “what is happening today in the sphere of international relations is not just about politics. It is about something else and far more important than politics. It is about human salvation, about where humanity will be on the right or on the left side of God the Savior, who comes into the world as the Judge and Creator of creation.”

In the context of speaking about war, the patriarch referred vaguely to those “who attack Ukraine today [and] eight years of suppression and extermination of people in Donbas. … But we know that our brothers and sisters are really suffering; moreover, they may suffer for their loyalty to the Church.”

Kirill went on to tell his congregation, “We are engaged in a struggle that has metaphysical rather than physical significance.”

“Today our brothers in the Donbas, Orthodox people, are undoubtedly suffering,” the patriarch continued. “We need to pray that the Lord will help them to preserve their Orthodox faith, not to succumb to temptation and temptation. At the same time we must pray that peace will come as quickly as possible, that the blood of our brothers and sisters will cease to flow, that the Lord will have mercy on the long-suffering land of Donbas, which for eight years has borne the painful stamp of human sin and hatred.”

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