The New York TimesThe New York Times

Ukraine War Divides Orthodox Faithful

By Neil MacFarquhar, Sophia Kishkovsky

18 Apr 2022 · 6 min read

In a small parish in northern Italy affiliated with the Russian Orthodox Church, the mostly Ukrainian worshipers — IT specialists, migrant factory laborers, nurses and cleaners — decided to repudiate the full-throated support for the war in Ukraine from Patriarch Kirill of Moscow.

The Moscow Patriarch had repeatedly bestowed blessings on the Russian military, giving a historical golden icon of the Virgin Mary to a senior commander, for example, and casting the war as a holy struggle to protect Russia from what he called Western scourges like gay pride parades. He has been a vocal supporter of President Vladimir V. Putin, with the church receiving vast financial resources in return.

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