Russian gay priest thinks the church should reach out


The Independent Catholic Church in St. Petersburg is only one of a few churches in Russia that can be called LGBT-accepting, PinkNews reports. And a priest named Alexandr, who is gay himself, develops LGBT-acceptance in his particular church and in Christianity in general. Born in Mezhdurechensk, a town at a distance of over 4,300 km east of St. Petersburg, Aleksandr had to change the church to serve (Russia is an Orthodox country and he was baptized as an Orthodox, so when he became a priest, the Orthodox Church was his first. But it is much more conservative, and as a consequence, much more homophobic, than the Catholic one) and a place to live (being gay in a small province town is life-threatening). His troubles started when he openly supported Ukraine that has a conflict with Russia for years. The immediate consequence of his legal struggle was a media scandal in which his sexual orientation also became public causing both offline and online threats. At home he encountered hostility but the situation was even worse on the street. Passers-by would often yell homophobic slurs at him, and online social media groups began inciting violence, even sending death threats. At his LGBT-inclusive church services, he makes no secret of his politics or sexual orientation. “I think someday people will thank us for what we did back then, for what we are doing now. For me it is important to be an activist because I’m rallying not for the rights of other people but, first of all, for my own rights,” he shares.


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