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Ukranian church leader who blamed pandemic on gays contracts COVID-19

Prominent Ukrainian church leader Patriarch Filaret has tested positive to COVID-19 after stating that gays were the cause of the pandemic.

Ahhh, the world works in mysterious ways. It has been confirmed that a Ukrainian church leader has tested positive to COVID-19 after blaming gay people for the coronavirus pandemic. Patriarch Filaret, 91, leads the large Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Kyiv Patriarchate. And surprise, surprise, he’s known for having some notoriously outdated beliefs.

Filaret caused controversy in March this year on a Ukrainian national TV channel when he claimed that the coronavirus was “God’s punishment for the sins of men, the sinfulness of humanity”, before clarifying: “first of all, I mean same-sex marriage.” 

Ukranian church leader COVID-19

When these comments were first broadcast, the Ukranian LGBTQ rights group Insight threatened to file a lawsuit against the church leader. Insight labels themselves a public organisation that is committed to equal rights, freedom, inclusiveness, and diversity for all social groups.

“Our aim is to show people that there is no longer place for such statements from church leaders in Ukraine,” the group’s leader Olena Shevchenko reported to the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Now, just six months on, it turns out that ol’ mate Patriarch Filaret has contracted the virus himself. His church took to Facebook to break the news, describing: “His Holiness Patriarch Filaret of Kiev and All Rus-Ukraine tested positive for COVID-19…We ask for holy prayers for the health and recovery of Patriarch Filaret. ”

Currently, the Holy Bishop is undergoing a course of treatment in hospital and is reportedly in a stable condition. But homophobia is still widespread and rampant within Ukraine, with same-sex marriage being illegal. Let’s hope this time of rest gives the prominent figure a chance to rethink and reevaluate his earlier comments.