Russian President Vladimir Putin -- a baptized Orthodox Christian and strong supporter of Russia's Orthodox Church -- has fallen under the spell of Satan and faces eternal damnation unless he repents, a top Ukrainian clergyman said today (September 6, 2014) in an unusually blunt statement that squarely blamed the Russian leader for the war in Ukraine, the Reuters website reports.
Patriarch Filaret heads the Ukrainian Orthodox Church--Kiev Patriarchate -- a branch of the Orthodox Church that broke away from Moscow in 1992 after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the declaration of an independent Ukraine.
His church -- a rival of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church--Moscow Patriarchate which is closely linked to Putin -- strongly supports Ukrainian nationhood and the Kiev government's struggle to defeat pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.
Patriarch Filaret said Putin had deliberately stoked the conflict in Ukraine by sending mercenaries, troops, and weapons across the border and had spread lies via Russia's mass media about what was really happening. The Kiev Patriarch urged the Orthodox faithful to pray that Putin would "come to his senses." Otherwise, the patriarch added, Putin would face "an ignominious end and eternal damnation in hell."