Russian Patriarch Says Orthodox Faithful Are Holding Back Antichrist

FILE PHOTO: Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia leads the Orthodox Christmas service at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow, Russia January 6, 2022. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov/File Photo Reuters_tickers

This content was published on April 7, 2022 – 15:28

LONDON (Reuters) – The leader of the Russian Orthodox faith reportedly said on Thursday his church and followers were holding back the antichrist.

Patriarch Kirill was speaking six weeks after the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which forced more than 4 million people to flee, killed or injured thousands and destroyed towns and villages.

Although not specifically cited in reference to Ukraine, Kirill’s comments supported the Kremlin line on the war by implying that Russia’s actions there were a forced response to an aggressor. foreigner.

“Why did outside forces rise up against Russian lands?” “Why are they striving to destroy, to divide, to pit brother against brother?” Kirill was quoted by Russian news agency RIA as saying.

The Kremlin claims the invasion is a special operation to demilitarize and “denazify” Ukraine, arguments that Ukraine and Western governments dismiss as a false pretext for an invasion.

Kirill, an ally of President Vladimir Putin, has defended Russia’s actions and sees the war as a clash with a Western liberal culture he deems decadent, particularly in its acceptance of homosexuality.

This position angered some members of the Orthodox Church and affiliated churches abroad.

Referring to a New Testament text in which the intensification of the conflict between good and evil culminates with the second coming of Christ, Kirill said that “the book of Revelation mentions a certain force which holds back the coming in the world of the antichrist”.

“Some think it’s the church holding it back, and it’s true,” he said.

“The church keeps people from losing their bearings in life…it’s the Orthodox faith, living and acting in the Orthodox church – it’s the restraining force (the antichrist).”

Kirill said it was no coincidence that “on this force are today directed all the sharp arrows of all those who seek to compromise the church, to divide it and to tear it from the people”, according to RIA .

(Reporting by Peter Hobson, editing by Mark Trevelyan and Jonathan Oatis)

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