Russian church leader laments 'right to sin,' 'revolutionary exile from God'

by Gregory Tomlin, |
Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill leads a processional into the Cathedral of Christ the Savior March 20, 2016. | ROC/Department of External Relations

MOSCOW (Christian Examiner) – The leader of 200 million Russian Orthodox Christians has condemned as heresy the right to sin, Asia News has reported.

Patriarch Kirill said during the sermon at Christ the Savior Cathedral that the world has drifted into the heresy of personal choices, such as homosexuality, and continues to support sin by enacting laws that protect degraded lifestyles. The results, he said, could ultimately be "apocalyptic" because sin leads to a life without God.

Today, we speak of the global heresy of man's bowing down to a new idolatry, which separates God from human life. Globally there had never been anything of its kind before.

"The idea of ??a life without God is developing on a large scale around the world," Kirill said. "In many developed countries there are concerted efforts to pass laws entitling the individual to any choice, including that of sin."

Kirill said these personal rights, ensconced in law, have "begun a revolutionary exile of God from man's life and that of society."

"Today, we speak of the global heresy of man's bowing down to a new idolatry, which separates God from human life. Globally there had never been anything of its kind before," Kirill said.

The Russian patriarch said the church, if it wishes to minister to the world, must aim "the force of its strength, its word, its thoughts" at this new heresy.

"We must defend Orthodoxy," he said.

Defending theological orthodoxy may mean actually distancing his church from others that have adopted policies favorable toward the acceptance of homosexuality. In June 2015, Kirill led the church to sever ecumenical ties with the Church of Scotland the United Protestant Church of France because of their acceptance of same-sex marriage. The Russian church leader called the behavior "incompatible with the norms of Christian morality."

He also said the acceptance of same-sex marriages paves the way for the acceptance of the anti-Christ.

"The Russian Orthodox Church holds the firm position based on Holy Scriptures and has repeatedly declared the mentioned innovations were inadmissible for moral teaching and thus it ought to reconsider the format of her relations with the churches and associations which trample upon the principles of traditional Christian morality," the statement from the Russian church said in June.

In February, Kirill and Pope Francis, the leader of Roman Catholics worldwide, issued a joint statement from Havana, Cuba, calling for greater cooperation between the churches. In that statement, the two leaders claimed "the family is based on marriage, an act of freely given and faithful love between a man and a woman."

"It is love that seals their union and teaches them to accept one another as a gift. Marriage is a school of love and faithfulness. We regret that other forms of cohabitation have been placed on the same level as this union, while the concept, consecrated in the biblical tradition, of paternity and maternity as the distinct vocation of man and woman in marriage is being banished from the public conscience," the statement said.