Patriarch Kirill, head of the Russian Orthodox Church claims Russian soldiers who die in the war against Ukraine will be cleansed of all their sins, days after President Vladimir Putin ordered the country’s first mobilization since World War Two.
Patriarch Kirill is a key Putin ally and backer of the invasion. He has previously criticized those who oppose the war and called on Russians to rally around Putin’s war.
“The Church prays that this battle will end as soon as possible, so that as few brothers as possible will kill each other in this fratricidal war.”
Russia says it is calling up some 300,000 additional troops to fight in Ukraine, in a mobilization drive that has stoked public anger, led to an exodus of military-age men, and triggered protests across the country.
Kirill’s support for the war in Ukraine has deepened a rift between the Russian branch of the Orthodox Church and other wings of Orthodoxy around the world. Pope Francis, head of the Catholic Church, has been a vocal opponent of the war and has appeared to criticize Kirill for his position in several public addresses.