A Ukrainian clergyman who blamed COVID-19 on gay marriage tests positive for the virus

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A Ukrainian religious leader who said homosexuality is to blame for the emergence of coronavirus in the world has tested positive to the virus.

In a statement shared on the church websites and on Facebook over the weekend says  Patriarch Filaret, 91, the leader of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Kyiv Patriarchate, contracted COVID-19

In a follow-up statement released on Tuesday, September 8, the church said its leader’s health is “stable” as “treatment continues.”

“We ask you to continue to pray for His Holiness Patriarch Filaret, so that the All-Merciful and Almighty Lord God will heal the Patriarch,” the statement continued.

Earlier in March this year, the nonagenarian in an interview with a local Ukrainian TV station reportedly called the crisis “God’s punishment for the sins of men and sinfulness of humanity.”

“First of all, I mean same-sex marriage,” he added. “This is the cause of the coronavirus.”

His comments angered the Ukrainian LGBTQ community, an LGBTQ rights group Insight filed a lawsuit against him in April.

 “Our aim is to show people that there is no longer place for such statements from church leaders in Ukraine,” Insight’s leader, Olena Shevchenko, told Thomson Reuters Foundation at the time.

The foundation also sought an apology from Filaret for misinforming the public and spreading false information and a correction from the TV station that aired the cleric controversial statement.

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