The head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, has warned that the meteoric rise in smartphone usage may be cause for serious concern — namely, the coming of the Antichrist.
In an interview on Russian State Television Monday, the long-time Putin ally made a rather outlandish claim that the internet has opened the possibility for “universal control over humanity.”
“Such control from one place forebodes the coming of the Antichrist,” Moscow’s Patriarch continued, as reported by the Telegraph. “The Antichrist is the person that will be at the head of the world wide web controlling all of humanity. That means that the structure itself poses a danger. There shouldn’t be a single center, at least not in the foreseeable future, if we don’t want to bring on the apocalypse.”
Kirill, who has in the past been criticized for his love of expensive watches (one worth around $30,000), qualified that he was not in total opposition to technological advance or gadgets. Rather, he warned that the Russian people should not “fall into slavery to what’s in your hands.”
“You should remain free inside and not fall under any addiction, not to alcohol, not to narcotics, not to gadgets,” he noted.
Naturally, Kirill’s bizarre comments attracted a series of mocking responses.
“Well, they’ll ban international Internet in Russia so the ‘Antichrist doesn’t come through it,” one Twitter user noted. “But where’s the guarantee that he won’t come through [Kirill’s] Breguet watch?”
Politically Kirill has for some time been battling against the now newly formed Orthodox Church of Ukraine.
The Archbishop of Constantinople, Bartholomew I, who is the Ecumenical head of the Eastern Orthodox Church, formally recognized the independent Church body January 5 at St. George’s Cathedral in Istanbul. The Russians, who have repeatedly attempted to assert political and military jurisdiction over large areas of Ukraine, are furious at the decision.
Senior Russian Orthodox leaders immediately broke communion with Bartholemew following the formalization, blasting the bold move as “lawless and canonically void.”
Prior to the unification, Kirill personally warned Bartholemew not to go through with his plans.
“Back off from communicating with dissenters now and refuse to take part in the political venture on their legalization,” he said, according to TASS. “And then the genuine Orthodox Church in Ukraine led by his Beatitude Onufriy, Metropolitan of Kiev and All Ukraine will bless you and history will keep memory of you as a Constantinople hierarch who managed to preserve the dignity of the church in dire political conditions and keep its unity.”
Previously Ukraine’s 30 million Eastern Orthodox Christians were split between the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) and two additional Churches which had claimed autocephaly, but were not recognized by other Orthodox Churches.