Russian Orthodox Church Leader: Blame Pride Parades for Invasion of Ukraine

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Tuesday March 8, 2022
Originally published on March 8, 2022

The leader of the Russian Orthodox Church seems to think Pride parades are the reason Russia has invaded 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," CNN reported — and, the church head claims, that claim to "world power" doesn't come from treaties or a commitment to international community, but instead from rainbow-colored festivals.

"In order to enter the club of those countries, it is necessary to hold a gay pride parade," Kirill declared in a March 7 sermon. "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 went on to add.

Russian forces entered Ukraine on Feb. 24. The invasion has been characterized as "the largest conventional military attack on a sovereign state in Europe since World War II."

"Kirill categorized the war as a struggle of 'metaphysical significance,' for humanity to follow God's laws," CNN relayed.

"The church leader characterized pride parades as 'loyalty tests,'" Newsweek summarized, "and said that countries looking to ally with Western powers must embrace them or be shunned."

"Further, he claimed that the breakaway regions of Ukraine at the heart of the current conflict, collectively known as Donbas, have 'fundamentally rejected' such values."

"Ultimately, Kirill called the invasion of Ukraine a conflict about things 'far more important than politics,' and insinuated that the embrace of progressive western values would lead to the end of civilization," Newsweek added.

"As noted by The Moscow Times, the Russian Orthodox Church has in the past been criticized for seeming to keep in step with the values and goals of the Kremlin during President Vladimir Putin's time in power," Newsweek said.

According to CNN, "Kirill's language has lent support to Putin's vision of a spiritual and temporal Russian empire."

Pope Francis, the head of the Catholic Church, has a starkly different message, which he delivered on March 7.

"'In Ukraine, rivers of blood and tears are flowing,' the Pope said on Sunday while addressing followers in St. Peter's Square," Newsweek reported. "This is not just a military operation but a war which sows death, destruction and misery," Pope Francis added.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.