(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 bundle designed to weaken Russia in response to the nation’s invasion of Ukraine.
According to CNN, the outstanding cleric is among the many record of names set to look in a proposed sixth spherical of European Union sanctions. The draft, which additionally features a doable ban on Russian oil, is below overview by EU ambassadors, that means names can nonetheless be added or eliminated.
Stress on Kirill has been mounting for months on account of his help 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 towards Western ideology, which the patriarch stated has been pressured on different nations by way of a vanguard of “homosexual parades.”
On Tuesday (Might 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 wonderful that an important 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 into “Putin’s altar boy.”
In the meantime, others have known as for governments to step in and sanction Kirill straight. In an editorial printed in The Instances, Hanna Hopko, former head of the Ukrainian Parliament’s committee on overseas affairs, stated 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 and the White Home didn’t instantly reply to questions on whether or not they supported imposing sanctions on the religion chief.
CNN, citing a state-run Russian information company, stated representatives for the ROC decried the proposed sanctions as missing “widespread sense.”
“Solely these fully unaware of the historical past of our Church can search to intimidate its clergy and believers by compiling some lists,” church spokesperson Vladimir Legoida stated by way of the messaging app Telegram.