Head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church Patriarch Fliaret tested positive for coronavirus on September 4, according to the church's official Facebook page.
Earlier in March, the Ukrainian patriarch gave an interview to a Ukrainian TV channel in which he explained that the cause of the pandemic: "the sinfulness of humanity." He then explain who he had particularity in mind: "First of all, I mean same-sex marriage."
The 91-year-old church leader's comments caused an uproar among many LGBTQ and human rights supporters.
Maria Guryeva, a spokeswoman for Amnesty International Ukraine strongly condemned the patriarch when speaking to the Thomson Reuters Foundation. "Such statements.. are very harmful because they could lead to increased attacks, aggression, discrimination and acceptance of violence against certain groups," said Guryeva.The Orthodox church of Ukraine is the largest religious group in the country. As such, it has an immense influence on large parts of Ukrainian population.
Although same-sex relationships are legal in Ukraine, the country does not recognize same-sex marriages, according to Equaldex. It is also ranked 35 out of 49 European countries in terms of tolerance towards LGBTQ, according to data collected by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association.