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Orthodox Church of Ukraine revokes award to AFU soldier Viktor Pylypenko due to his sexual orientation: the scandal does not subside, his brothers in arms outraged. All details

Maryna PohorilkoSociety
The award to soldier revoked because of his sexual orientation

A scandal erupted in Ukraine over the revocation by the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate and Patriarch Filaret of an award to Viktor Pylypenko, a soldier of the 72nd Black Zaporozhians Brigade. The reason is the defender's homosexual orientation.

This was reported on Facebook by the UOC-KP. Pylypenko himself, as well as many media outlets, social media users and the soldier's fellow brothers in arms, reacted to the post of the church's press service, and began to refuse the awards presented by the Filaret.

About the awarding ceremony

On February 8, the UOC awarded medals for "Sacrifice and Love for Ukraine" to the soldiers of the 72nd Black Zaporozhians Brigade. All personnel received the award.

Pylypenko, who has always openly declared his orientation, together with the commander of the medical center, Yurii Lytvynenko, arrived from Donbas to hand over the awards to the military. He received them personally from Filaret, who thanked the soldier.

Why the church revoked the award

After receiving the award, the soldier published a post thanking Filaret for the award, thinking that in this way the UOC changed its attitude towards the LGBTQ+ community.

"I am sincerely glad that Patriarch Filaret took such a step and thanked me, an openly gay man and human rights activist, for the protection. He gave me a medal with his signature and seal. He and the Kyiv Patriarchate headed by him have radically changed their position on LGBTQ+ people and no longer consider us "sinful" or the cause of the coronavirus," Pylypenko wrote.

However, on February 25, Filaret's press service responded to his post. They emphasized that they had not changed their position on the LGBTQ+ community and that the patriarch was "unaware of the sinful tendencies" of the military when he presented the award. In fact, he considers non-heterosexual orientation a "sodomite sin."

The post noted that although they are grateful to soldier Pylypenko, they do not share his "sinful preferences."

"We would like to inform you that in view of the open propaganda of a sinful ideology and the denial of the existence of God, the church award to Viktor Pylypenko is hereby revoked," the church's press service said.

Orthodox Church of Ukraine revokes award to AFU soldier Viktor Pylypenko due to his sexual orientation: the scandal does not subside, his brothers in arms outraged. All details
Orthodox Church of Ukraine revokes award to AFU soldier Viktor Pylypenko due to his sexual orientation: the scandal does not subside, his brothers in arms outraged. All details

Reaction of Pylypenko and society

In response to this act of the UOC-KP, the soldier said that the situation was a total mess and that Filaret, by awarding the soldiers, was carrying out a PR campaign for his denomination.

"I wrote words of gratitude to Filaret, naively imagining that he deliberately awarded me and showed his colleagues a Christian, undoubtedly noble gesture, a signpost to reconciliation and mutual respect for gays, atheists, and people of other faiths. But everything turned out to be more prosaic: Filaret was just handing out his awards as a PR campaign for his denomination," the fighter said.

Orthodox Church of Ukraine revokes award to AFU soldier Viktor Pylypenko due to his sexual orientation: the scandal does not subside, his brothers in arms outraged. All details
Orthodox Church of Ukraine revokes award to AFU soldier Viktor Pylypenko due to his sexual orientation: the scandal does not subside, his brothers in arms outraged. All details

A wave of outrage over the actions of the UOC-KP and support for the soldier has risen online. The NGO "Military LGBTQ+", headed by Pylypenko, stated that "the UOC-KP is pulling society into the swamps, devaluing the contribution of LGBTQ+ military to the victory."

Ilia Krotenko, a fighter with the 72nd Black Zaporozhians Brigade, emphasized that the "trinkets" handed out by the church are worthless.

"In connection with the absolutely disgusting act of the UOC-Kyiv Patriarchate and Patriarch Filaret, who took away the award from war veteran Viktor Pylypenko only because he is openly gay, I also refuse a similar award of my own," he wrote.

Orthodox Church of Ukraine revokes award to AFU soldier Viktor Pylypenko due to his sexual orientation: the scandal does not subside, his brothers in arms outraged. All details

Pavlo Shatokhin, a military officer, volunteer, and civic activist, noted that it is difficult to assess the degree of insult inflicted by the UOC-KP on Pylypenko.

"As if your toy has any value after that: it does not. As if his sacrifice and our gratitude will become less: they won't. I will bring this toy of yours to St. Volodymyr's Cathedral, so play with it as you wish," he said.

Orthodox Church of Ukraine revokes award to AFU soldier Viktor Pylypenko due to his sexual orientation: the scandal does not subside, his brothers in arms outraged. All details

Soldier Ivan Havrylenko also noted that he does not understand the position of the church, although he does not belong to the LGBTQ+ community.

"I'm returning your f*cking jewelry if you don't respect real human sacrifice. I'm a Christian, I don't understand you," the defense lawyer wrote.

Orthodox Church of Ukraine revokes award to AFU soldier Viktor Pylypenko due to his sexual orientation: the scandal does not subside, his brothers in arms outraged. All details

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