(RNS) — The European Union is reportedly contemplating the prospect of imposing sanctions on Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, head of the Russian Orthodox Church, as half of a bigger package deal designed to weaken Russia in response to the nation’s invasion of Ukraine.
According to CNN, the distinguished cleric is among the many record of names set to seem in a proposed sixth spherical of European Union sanctions. The draft, which additionally features a potential ban on Russian oil, is underneath evaluate by EU ambassadors, which means names can nonetheless be added or eliminated.
Stress on Kirill has been mounting for months as a consequence of his assist for Russia’s invasion and for laying the spiritual groundwork for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s aggression within the area.
Because the invasion started, Kirill has decried Russia’s enemies in Ukraine as “evil forces” and preached a sermon framing the invasion as half of a bigger “metaphysical” battle in opposition to Western ideology, which the patriarch mentioned has been pressured on different nations by way of a vanguard of “homosexual parades.”
On Tuesday (Could 3), Kirill denied that Russia’s actions constituted an invasion in any respect, declaring during a worship service that “Russia has by no means attacked anybody.”
“It’s superb that a fantastic and highly effective nation by no means attacked anybody — it solely defended its borders,” he added.
His rhetoric has sparked dissent within the ranks of the Russian Orthodox Church and triggered calls to expel the ROC from the World Council of Churches. Pope Francis additionally confronted Kirill throughout a current assembly convened on Zoom, warning the cleric to not turn out to be “Putin’s altar boy.”
In the meantime, others have known as for governments to step in and sanction Kirill immediately. In an editorial revealed in The Instances, Hanna Hopko, former head of the Ukrainian Parliament’s committee on international affairs, mentioned she personally pressed U.S. Home Speaker Nancy Pelosi throughout a go to to Washington final month to sanction Kirill.
“The West should ship a strong sign that anybody — together with these purporting to serve God — who facilitates the godless actions of Russian forces in Ukraine won’t go unpunished,” she wrote. “(Kirill) is manifestly a Putin stooge, and his life-style and property ought to be focused accordingly.”
Representatives for Pelosi didn’t instantly reply to questions on Kirill, however White Home Press Secretary Jen Psaki was requested in regards to the prospect of sanctioning the religion chief throughout a press convention on Wednesday.
“I might say nobody is protected from our sanctions — we’re persevering with to evaluate choices, however I haven’t got any to preview at this time,” Psaki instructed reporters.
CNN, citing a state-run Russian information company, mentioned representatives for the ROC decried the proposed sanctions as missing “frequent sense.”
“Solely these utterly blind to the historical past of our Church can search to intimidate its clergy and believers by compiling some lists,” church spokesperson Vladimir Legoida mentioned by way of the messaging app Telegram.
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