Russian Orthodox Church head may face EU sanction

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As part of a larger package designed to weaken Russia in response to its invasion of Ukraine, the European Union is considering imposing sanctions on the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill.

His name, according to reports is among the list of names set to appear in a proposed sixth round of EU sanctions.

Pressure on Kirill has been mounting for months due to his support for Russia’s invasion and for laying the spiritual groundwork for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s aggression in the region.

Since the invasion began, Kirill has decried Russia’s enemies in Ukraine as “evil forces” and preached a sermon framing the invasion as part of a larger “metaphysical” battle against Western ideology, which the patriarch said has been forced on other nations through a vanguard of “gay parades.”

Last Tuesday, Kirill denied that Russia’s actions constituted an invasion at all, declaring during a worship service that “Russia has never attacked anyone.”

“It is amazing that a great and powerful country never attacked anyone — it only defended its borders,” he added.

His rhetoric has sparked dissent in the ranks of the Russian Orthodox Church and triggered calls to expel the ROC from the World Council of Churches. Pope Francis also confronted Kirill during a recent meeting convened on Zoom, warning the cleric not to become “Putin’s altar boy.”

Kirill and Putin

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