Update: Since this piece was published, the vice-president of Russia's Academy of Sciences, Yury Balega, was quoted as saying by the RBC news website that the academy would not grant the award to the Patriarch "for the time being" after several members expressed their opposition.
The head of the Russian Orthodox Church has been named an honorary professor of the Russian Academy of Sciences’ (RAS), an RAS spokeswoman said Friday.
The announcement comes a week after Patriarch Kirill warned that smartphone users risked falling under the control of the Antichrist. Members of RAS, Russia’s premier science body, have in recent years criticized the organization over increased interference from state officials and a series of controversial reforms.
Patriarch Kirill was awarded the title of honorary professor over his role as a “big popularizer of science,” RAS spokeswoman Svetlana Popova told Interfax on Friday.
“As Einstein said, the theory of relativity speaks to the genius of the Creator, and in this sense, there are no contradictions,” Popova was quoted as saying.
The church leader has also held the honorary professor title at the Moscow-based National Research Nuclear University or MEPhI, since 2010.
RAS will also reportedly award the honorary professor title to the chairwoman of Russia’s upper-house Federation Council, Valentina Matvienko. Interfax reports an awards ceremony will take place at the RAS headquarters in Moscow next Tuesday.