Support The Moscow Times!

Head of Orthodox Church Blasts Social Media 'Disease'

Alexander Zemlianichenko / AP

Millions of young people who crave approval on social media are suffering from a "real disease," Russia's spiritual leader has said.

Patriarch Kirill, the head of Russia's Orthodox Church, said that young people were willing to risk their lives in a bid to win approval from their online followers. He claimed that the problem was rooted in vanity, the Interfax news agency reported.

"Some young people see no purpose in life except to get likes,” Kirill told worshippers at Moscow's Epiphany Cathedral on Tuesday. “If they have no other aim, then we should see that as a tragedy."

Online images also provoked the patriarch's outrage for “arousing sinful thoughts.”

"Civilization is going in the wrong direction,” he told the congregation.

Patriarch Kirill is currently touring Moscow's churches to mark the beginning of Lent. The Christian holiday, which began on Monday, sees Russian Orthodox believers shun alcohol, smoking, sexual intercourse, swearing and impure thoughts for 47 days. 

Many Russians also adopt a vegan diet for the duration of Lent, giving up meat, eggs, seafood and dairy products.

Read more

Independent journalism isn’t dead. You can help keep it alive.

As the only remaining independent, English-language news source reporting from Russia, The Moscow Times plays a critical role in connecting Russia to the world.

Editorial decisions are made entirely by journalists in our newsroom, who adhere to the highest ethical standards. We fearlessly cover issues that are often considered off-limits or taboo in Russia, from domestic violence and LGBT issues to the climate crisis and a secretive nuclear blast that exposed unknowing doctors to radiation.

As we approach the holiday season, please consider making a one-time donation — or better still a recurring donation — to The Moscow Times to help us continue producing vital, high-quality journalism about the world’s largest country.