On January 7th 2016, the Russian state-owned TV channel “Russia 1” broadcast an interview with Patriarch Kirill who heads the Russian Orthodox Church, the country’s largest, most influential religious organization. During the interview, he shared his opinions on the motives of terrorists whose actions, in his mind, are a reaction to the rise of a godless civilization, which welcomes Gay prides. The interview was recorded for Christmas, which is celebrated on January 7th according to the Orthodox calendar.
The Patriarch expressed his feelings that “Christians are now the most downtrodden religious community – not only in places of conflict with Islamic extremists but also in many other regions, including prosperous Europe where public displays of Christian sentiments, for example, wearing a cross in public, may cause a person to lose their job. We know that Christianity is being removed from public spaces; in many countries, the word, ‘Christmas’, is no longer used. Christians are indeed in a very difficult position.”
The Patriarch also shared his reflections on the motives guiding individuals who join the ranks of terrorists. He noted that there are “honest people [among them] or people who, at least, join terrorists out of truly religious grounds … And what could be the reason? Have we ever stopped to think about it? ‘You become a fighter for the Caliphate.’ ‘So what’s a Caliphate?’ ‘It is a society centered around faith and God where people follow religious laws. You are creating a civilization that is new by comparison to the established one that is godless, secular and even radical in its secularism.’”
“What we are seeing now is this godless civilization is reaching maturity, in as much by through the will of the people, who proclaim it the highest of virtues but then wearing a cross is banned. We can have parades for the sexual minorities – that is supported, but a million French Christian protestors defending family values are broken up by police. If you call nontraditional relationships a sin, as the Bible teaches and you are a priest or pastor, then you risk not only your ability to serve but you may be sent to prison.”
“I could offer more simply frightening examples of how the godless civilization is growing yet here they are drawing attention to young people being converted by extremists. ‘Look how they build the world – an unholy world, but we invite you to build God’s world.’ And they respond to that; it is for this they give their lives.”
Commenting on the Patriarch’s statement, Valery Sozaev, founder of the Russian-based LGBT believers support service, “Nuntiare and Recreare”, noted that, “Patriarch Kirill is justifying religious terrorism. This comes as no surprise as there are forces acting within the Russian Orthodox Church, who could be considered, if not terrorists, then at least extremists (“The Will of God”, “Orthodox Gonfaloniers” etc.). These individuals regularly participate in violent physical attacks on the Russian LGBT community and they do so with church approval, using the same rhetoric heard straight from the Patriarch’s mouth to justify their actions. This religion has nothing to do with Christ. It is the religion of human hatred, not love.”
Taken from the Russian Orthodox Church official website, January 7th 2016 for inclusion on Nuntiare.org.