Kirill, the Patriarch of Russian Orthodox Church, has blamed liberal western values, particularly gay pride parades, for Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The remarks justifying Ukraine's invasion were made in Sunday sermon.
Kirill is a longtime ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin and has so far refrained from criticising the Russian invasion.
"We have entered into a struggle that has not a physical, but a metaphysical significance," he said during the Forgiveness Sunday sermon.
Kirill then focused his attention on the situation in Donbas, the breakaway eastern region of Ukraine held since 2014 by pro-Russia separatist groups. He echoed Putin's unfounded claims that Ukraine was engaged in the "extermination" of Russian loyalists in Donbas.
"For eight years there have been attempts to destroy what exists in Donbas. 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," Kirill said.
He added that countries which do not accept these values are not considered part of the world. These countries are offered a "test of loyalty" by demands that they hold gay parades, said the leader of the Russian church.
"Pride parades are designed to demonstrate that sin is one variation of human behaviour. That's why in order to join the club of those countries, you have to have a gay pride parade," said Kirill.
"If humanity accepts that sin is not a violation of God's law, if humanity accepts that sin is a variation of human behavior, the human civilisation will end there," he added.
The head of the #Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, said: "The war is going on because they don't want gay parades in the Donbas."— Inna Sovsun (@InnaSovsun) March 7, 2022
I've never heard a worse excuse for killing children.
And yes, when we win the war, I will visit the first 🏳️🌈 pride in #Donetsk.
Kirill, born Vladimir Mikhailovich Gundyaev, graduated in 1970 from Leningrad Theological Academy, according to Encyclopaedia Britannica. In 1971, he was appointed representative of the Russian Orthodox Church at the World Council of Churches in Geneva.
Kirill was elected to the patriarchate in January 2009.