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Russian Orthodox Church speaks out over ‘unfriendly countries’ adopting children

19 August 2022

THE Russian Orthodox Church has called for an end to the adoption of Russian children by people in “unfriendly countries”, including those supporting LGBT rights and “failing to reflect Russian values”.

“It is only possible now to send someone to be raised in a foreign country if that country adheres to the same spiritual and moral values as Russia,” the Russian Orthodox Exarch for Africa, Metropolitan Leonid (Gorbachov) of Klin, said in a statement last weekend.

“While the political views of some friendly countries suit us, the attitude shown in others towards marriage as a union of man and woman, and the official approval of gay parades and aggressive LGBT communities, make it impossible raise an adopted child there.”

Metropolitan Leonid, who is 53, spoke after a Protestant pastor and gay-rights activist, Brent Hawkes, was named among 62 Canadians barred from Russia in retaliation for Ottawa’s sanctioning, in early July, of Patriarch Kirill and other senior figures for supporting the invasion of Ukraine.

A Moscow Foreign Ministry statement said that the Canadians, who included government officials, journalists, and a Roman Catholic priest, Fr Raymond de Souza, had been sanctioned because of their government’s “malicious activities” against Russia’s “traditional values”; these had deliberately offended “not just the multi-ethnic and multi-faith Russian people, but also Orthodox Christians worldwide”.

Also at the weekend, Patriarch Kirill urged Russians to follow the example of communist-era martyrs, and shun the “slackness of modern life, pluralism of opinions, and absence of moral standards” now prevalent in the West.

“Perhaps the memory of these new martyrs will help us stay faithful — not in conditions of persecution, but amid the temptations that modern godless civilisation is bringing down upon us,” the Patriarch told a commemorative event in St Petersburg for the Orthodox clergy who were shot after a 1922 show trial.

“Modern liberalism preaches that the highest value is freedom — what you choose is the value. And, since a huge number of people live by this rule, especially in Western countries, many say that maybe we should also live like that. . . But when sin dresses up in beautiful clothes . . . a person becomes weak and subject to outside influences.”

In a survey by the state-run Public Opinion Research Centre, VCIOM, more than 70 per cent of Russians said that public authorities should help to “maintain a favourable moral climate in society”, compared with 23 per cent who believed that “morality and ethics belong in the private domain”.

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