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22 Jul, 2013 07:55

'Recognizing same-sex unions brings us closer to apocalypse' - Head of Russian Orthodox Church

'Recognizing same-sex unions brings us closer to apocalypse' - Head of Russian Orthodox Church

The Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill sees the recognition of same-sex unions by Western countries as a portent of doom. He called upon Russians to ensure that sin is never formalized by the rule of law.

"We face enormous temptations when countries start approving sin and codifying it into law in order to justify it,” Itar-Tass quoted the patriarch as saying after the Sunday service in the Kazan Cathedral on Red Square.

Those who follow their conscience and “fight such laws imposed by the minority are subjected to repressions,” he added.

Kirill urged Russians to ensure that sin is never formalized in the rule of law.

“This is a very dangerous apocalyptic symptom, and we must do everything in our powers to ensure that sin is never sanctioned in Russia by state law, because that would mean that the nation has embarked on a path of self-destruction,” Kirill stated. 

AFP Photo / Boris Horvat

The patriarch pointed out that people have been convinced that the only value is the freedom of choice and no one has the right to infringe on that “even when a person chooses evil or a socially dangerous behavior.”

The Patriarch called upon Russians to fight for freedom from sins. “Where sin is elected through freedom, there comes death, terror and dictatorship,” Kirill said.

He asked people to pray for the future of the country to prevent “the slavery of sin” that leads to the “self-destruction of the nation”.

Patriarch Kirill led a church service in Moscow on Sunday that honored the Icon of Our Lady of Kazan, one of the most revered relics in Russia. The liturgy took place at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Kazan on Red Square, which has a copy of the revered icon.

The topic of same-sex unions has been heatedly debated in Russia. On June 30 Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a controversial law strengthening the penalties for “propagating homosexuality among minors”.

The so-called ‘gay propaganda’ introduces fines for propaganda of non-traditional sex relationships to minors, including in the media, on the internet and via viral adverts. 

Participants in gay activists' rally protesting against the law prohibiting gay agenda at the Oktyabrsky concert hall in St Petersburg.(RIA Novosti / Alexei Danichev)

Under the controversial law, holding LGBT rallies is now prohibited, as well as the distribution of information aimed at informing children of non-traditional sexual concepts.  The bill also prohibits the “obtrusive spreading of information about non-traditional sexual relationships that may arouse interest in such relationships.”

Gay rights activists in Russia and abroad deemed the bill “anti-gay”. In a statement on GayRussia.eu, a Russian gay-rights activist wrote that Putin violated Russia’s international obligations by signing the law.

Earlier this year, in April, Vladimir Putin faced hundreds of protesters ranging from gay rights activists to a topless feminist group during his visit to Germany and the Netherlands. In Amsterdam, over a thousand gay rights activists picketed outside his meeting with Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

However, according to a recent poll conducted by the All-Russian Public Opinion Center (VTSIOM) in June, 88 per cent of Russians supported the amendments to the law; only 7 per cent said they are against. 54 per cent staid that homosexuality should be banned and be criminalized.