by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) – A bishop of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church has said Russian President Vladimir Putin is the ‘antiChrist of our time’ because everything he does is against God’s law, the Christian Post (CP) reports. Bishop Yevstratiy Zoria made his remarks during a BBC Global News podcast Sunday, amid Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
Speaking to the BBC’s Global News Podcast, religion and ethics producer Harry Farley, Bishop Zoria of Orthodox Church of Ukraine rejected Putin’s view of himself as a messianic figure destined to reunite Russia and Ukraine, together with their respective Orthodox churches. “[Putin is] really not messianic, but really [the] antiChrist of our current time,” Zoria said.“[He is the] antiChrist because everything he does … is totally against [the] Gospel, against God’s law.”
Giving background to Zoria’s remarks, Farley explained that Putin sees Russian history as going back to the arrival of the Eastern Orthodox Church to the region in the ninth century. “He along with many other Russians see Russia’s history dating back to that [time],” Farley said. Accordingly, Putin refutes the notion of a free and independent Ukraine, and rejects the idea that the Orthodox Church of Ukraine can be separate from the Russian Orthodox church, which is under the control of Moscow.
“Moscow and the Russian Orthodox Church developed, became this huge power … within the Orthodox Church. But in 2019, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church split off from Russia and was recognized as independent,” Farley added. “Religion is hugely important for Putin’s identity, for his psyche, he immerses himself in icy water to mark the festival of Epiphany, he wears his baptismal cross… he sees himself as a kind of messianic figure, a savior, to reunite Eastern Orthodox churches under Moscow.”
Zoria, however, attested that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church is “fiercely independent” and “rejects Moscow’s authority,” CP reports.
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