In a tirade against the west, Vladimir Putin has mocked the Church of England for having discussions about using gender-neutral terms for God.
The Russian leader said western leaders were heading for a “spiritual catastrophe,” and cited the debate as an example of the west waging a culture war against the values of the Russian Orthodox Church.
During his speech, Putin said: “The Anglican Church is considering a gender-neutral God. May God forgive them for they know not what they do.”
“Millions of people in the West understand they are being led to a real spiritual catastrophe,” he added.
The C of E has committed to exploring the use of gendered language when referencing God following a written question at General Synod earlier this month.
Whilst no one is suggesting the current language be abolished, there has been talk of the potential to include alternative language for those wishing to use it.
The denomination has not suggested they will do away with the traditional “he/him” pronouns, or the reference to “our father” in the Lord’s Prayer.
Putin also condemned the recent decision to allow same-sex blessings in C of E churches.
During the recent General Synod, the House of Bishops and the House of Laity both voted in favour of allowing the blessing of same-sex couples, in lieu of allowing same-sex marriage.
It’s a decision that has frustrated Christians on both sides of the debate – those that believe in the orthodox view of sexuality have co ndemned the decision to “celebrate” homosexual relationships, and those in favour of same-sex marriage have accused the C of E of presenting LGBT+ people with “crumbs” instead.
Putin continued his barrage against the C of E, saying: “They distort historical facts, constantly attack our culture, the Russian Orthodox Church, and other traditional religions of our country.
“Look at what they do with their own peoples: the destruction of the family, cultural and national identity, perversion, and the abuse of children are declared the norm. And priests are forced to bless same-sex marriages.”
In response, a spokesperson for the Church of England said: “As we have repeatedly said, there are absolutely no plans to consider a gender neutral God.
“It is simply wrong to say that the Church of England is considering stopping using any particular terms for God and there are also absolutely no plans to abolish or substantially revise currently authorised liturgies and no such changes could be made without extensive legislation.”
The comments were made as part of a wider speech condemning western involvement in Ukraine.
The Russian leader said his nation had done “everything possible” to solve the war “peacefully,” despite his decision to invade Ukraine a year ago.
US president Joe Biden appeared in Ukraine on Monday, 20th of February, ahead of the one year anniversary of the invasion. Today, in Warsaw, he responded to Putin’s comments, saying: “This was a war of choice - Putin chose to fight it. He could have chosen not to. And he can choose even now to end it, to go home. Nobody is attacking Russia.”