Russia’s top cleric accused of ‘crimes’ by fellow Orthodox leaders for allowing invasion of Ukraine

WASHINGTON – The head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriot Grill, has been a loyal ally of President Vladimir Putin for many years. But his voice for the invasion of Ukraine has drawn strong condemnation from religious leaders who claim he has abandoned Christian teachings in support of the Kremlin’s destructive propaganda.

In his most recent Sunday sermon delivered at the Church of the Most Holy Theodosius in Moscow, Grill called on worshipers to respect official authority – which aims to promote the military campaign that has gone badly for Russia. Grill, once called a “political patriot”, ascended the throne in 2009 and is closely associated with the current political regime in Russia.

“May the Lord help all of us at this difficult time to unite our Fatherland, including the authorities,” Grill said in the sermon. He hoped that the Russian people would retain “the ability to repel external and internal enemies.”

Despite the fact that the majority of Ukrainians are of Eastern descent, Grill has been a vocal and consistent supporter of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. On Sunday, nearly 300 leaders of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church signed a letter accusing Grill of “moral crimes” for supporting an unprovoked attack on Ukraine that killed thousands of civilians.

Russian Patriot Grill celebrates Christmas service on January 6 in Moscow.

“Our position is fully consistent with the gospel and church tradition,” wrote the Ukrainian clergy. “Protecting the homeland from enemies is one of the most important Christian virtues.”

Several Christian leaders in the West have condemned the invasion, including members of Pope Francis and Grill’s own church. However, most Russian clergy share Grill’s views. The Moroccan metropolitan metropolis called the invasion of Ukraine a war against the “Antichrist”.

Mitrofan also said that the Orthodox Church in Ukraine was “not the real church” and that the split between the Ukrainian and Russian churches three years ago had angered both Putin and Grill.

The KGB has long been suspected of being an agent of the Soviet-era security service, which often isolated dissidents – and the grill symbolizes the revival of the Orthodox Church under Putin, who used religion for his nationalist, anti – Western. View. In 2013, Grill denounced same-sex marriage as “the most dangerous sign of the apocalypse.” Four years later, he criticized Western Europe for turning away from Christianity as a “grave mistake.”

Although Russian society became increasingly religious after the fall of the Soviet Union, which officially accepted atheism, the Grill did not completely escape exploration. In 2012, a photo of him wearing a watch worth $ 40,000 was airbrushed and the deadline removed, leading to widespread ridicule and ridicule. Two years ago, he wore a watch worth $ 16,000, this time without worrying about the public backlash.

When Putin decided to launch an invasion of Ukraine in late February – which he described as an attempt to “Nazify” the Jewish presidential-led government – they told members of the Grill Armed Forces that they were “on the right track.” He also noted the growing threat to Ukraine and its Western allies “within the borders of our homeland.”

Ukraine, a sovereign state since 1991, has sought to list a curriculum different from its Soviet tradition. Putin, who first invaded Ukraine in 2014, has always considered Kiev’s desire for autonomy an insult. Eight years later, in anticipation of an easy victory, he invaded again, facing opposition at home and condemnation abroad.

Grill is a key ally of the increasingly confused Kremlin. “The moral blessing of the Russian Orthodox Church for this war has been created for many years.” Samuel Ramani, an expert in Russia The University of Oxford said earlier this month. While some may be surprised by Grill’s loyalty to Putin, his indifference to the plight of ordinary Ukrainians has renewed criticism of his tenure.

Despite his general calls for peace, the 75-year-old bishop did not hide his true sympathies. “We’ve entered a struggle that is not a physical one, but a psychological one,” Grill said in early March.

In a speech that was widely condemned earlier this month, Grill attacked the West, imagining the unity of the same imaginary Slavic people that Putin had instigated and rejected by the Ukrainians.

A man pushes his bike into the rubble and destroys Russian military vehicles

On April 6, Russian military vehicles were wrecked and destroyed in Pucha, Ukraine. (Chris McGrath / Getty Images)

“Today the word‘ freedom ’is used almost exclusively in all countries of the world,” Grill said on the same day that much of the world was confronted with images of civilians being massacred in Pucha. “But this is wrong, because most of the nations of the world are now under the immense influence of one power, which today, unfortunately, opposes the power of our people.”

The April 3 sermon was delivered in the main cathedral of the Russian Armed Forces. Grill did not name the evil force he had in mind, but Putin blamed the United States for engineering Ukraine’s successful opposition to Russia.

“We are a peace-loving country and like some European countries the victims of war are very peace-loving, long-suffering people,” Grill said.

“We do not want to go to war or do anything that could harm others. But we are educated throughout our history, we love our homeland and we will be ready to defend it so that only the Russians can defend their homeland.

The April 3 sermon led to the condemnation of the head of the Greek Orthodox Church in the United States. “From the words and deeds of the patriot Grill, we can conclude that he has made the same bargain with Putin and his allies.

Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury, called on the World Church to expel Russia after the April 3 sermon.

Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury

Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury. (Don Kidwood / Getty Images)

“The riot law must be read,” Williams told the BBC.

“When a church actively supports the war of aggression, it has the right to question and challenge other churches for failing to explicitly expose blatant violations of any kind of conduct during the war.

Sunday’s Grill sermon was attended by several representatives of the mining company Norilsk Nickel, which helped build the church where the service took place. Vladimir Botanin, an oligarch close to Putin, heads the organization.

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