Patriarch Filaret
Source: AFP/Getty Images

Patriarch Filaret, 91, a religious leader of Ukraine who claimed the coronavirus pandemic is the retribution of God for same-sex activities. The religious leader was tested positive during a routine test. He is admitted to the hospital. As per the local reports, he has also developed pneumonia.

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The diagnosis was confirmed by a statement posted on Facebook. The statement says,

‘We inform that during planned testing, His Holiness Patriarch Filaret of Kyiv and All Rus-Ukraine tested positive for COVID 19. Now His Holiness Bishop is undergoing treatment at a hospital,’

Patriarch Filaret is one of the most popular religious leaders in Ukraine. He said to have 15 million of followers out of 42 million population in Ukraine. He leads the split of the Ukrainian Church from its parent Russian church. The Russian Church has debunked and excommunicated him.

After his statements on gay sex, he faced heavy criticism from the LGBT group. A Ukrainian LGBT group has even sued him for his comments. The group said that his comments were dangerous and risked stirring violence. The rights group argued that at a time when the country is facing anxiety amid health problems, his comments were shameful.

The press service of Patriarch Filaret said that as a head of the church, he has the right to express his opinion. Speaking about the lawsuit, the service said that what he said was within the Ukrainian law.

The administrative proceedings in the Kyiv court sought an apology from the leader. The group wants him to be more responsible next time before making any statement and spreading false information.

World Health Organization has also condemned spreading false information and said that it fuels discrimination and stigmatization.