Support The Moscow Times!

Russian Orthodox Church Agrees With Pope: 'Sex Is a Gift From God'

Pope Francis / Vatican News

A Russian Orthodox archbishop in charge of family affairs has sided with Pope Francis in his assessment that sexuality is not a taboo but a gift from God — as long as it is practiced within the family.

The pope reportedly told young worshippers in France this week that “passionate” love “leads you to give your life forever.” “Sexuality, sex, is a gift of God. Not taboo,” he was quoted as telling young Catholics from the Grenoble diocese.

Archpriest Dmitry Smirnov, who heads a Russian Orthodox patriarchal commission for children’s and mother’s rights, concurred with Pope Francis that “sex is a component of love.”

“But only love within marriage,” Smirnov told the Govorit Moskva radio station Wednesday.

He echoed the pope’s message that premarital sex “violates God’s plan and is a mortal sin.”

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly referred to Dmitry Smirnov as an archbishop. He is an archpriest.

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.

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.