Ukraine Orthodox Church head: 'Killing Russian invaders isn't a sin'

"We, as a nation, do not wish death to our neighbors," Metropolitan Epiphanius I of Ukraine said. "However, since they came to our land, we're defending our land. Protecting ourselves is not a sin."

 Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew handing the tomos of autocephaly of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine to Metropolitan Epiphanius, primate of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew handing the tomos of autocephaly of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine to Metropolitan Epiphanius, primate of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine.
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Killing Russian soldiers isn't a sin, Metropolitan Epiphanius I of Ukraine, head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, said Monday in a telethon, as reported by Ukrainian state media Ukrinform.

"We, as a nation, do not wish death to our neighbors," Epiphanius was reported to have said. "However, since they came to our land, we're defending our land. Protecting ourselves is not a sin."

The archbishop blessed the Ukrainian people in their fight against Russia.

This is not the first statement he has made regarding the Russian invasion of Ukraine: A previous statement in late February argued that "the spirit of the anti-Christ operates in the leader of Russia."

He claimed that the "signs" were revealed to indicate this, citing "Pride, devotion to evil, ruthlessness [and] false religiosity."

 A MURAL of Russian President Vladmir Putin is vandalized – with red spraypaint and the word ‘Murderer’ written above the original text reading ‘Brother’ – in Belgrade, Serbia, March 6.  (credit: Zorana Jevtic/Reuters) A MURAL of Russian President Vladmir Putin is vandalized – with red spraypaint and the word ‘Murderer’ written above the original text reading ‘Brother’ – in Belgrade, Serbia, March 6. (credit: Zorana Jevtic/Reuters)

This "was [Nazi leader Adolf] Hitler during World War II," Epiphanius claimed: "This is what [Russian President Vladimir] Putin has become today."