Updated at 13:48,15-08-2017

Bishop in gay row due to strive for independence?

Belsat

Bishop Stefan of Homel and Zhlobin, who was accused of sexual harassment by Orthodox theologist Andrey Kurayev, might have been dragged in the mud because he was susspected of planting the idea of the Belarusian Orthodox Church's autonomy.

Chairing the Canonization Committee, Bishop Stefan has done a lot in the glorification of new martyrs and confessors, priest Aliaksandr Shramko wrote on his Facebook.

'It is the Committee's work that this unpleasant things can be connected with. The case is that the [Moscow] Patriarchy demands that all the canonization acts should be obligatorily passed in Moscow. Stefan had the imprudence to state that we [Belarusians] might well do it ourselves, which caused suspicions of the secret promotion of [the idea of] autocefaly. And this is the vilest sin in the eyes of the current authorities of the Russian Orthodox Church,' Father Shramko believes.

Kurayev's attack on the Belarusian bishop at this very moment looks suspicious, Aliaksandr Shramko thinks. According to him, the Russian Orthodox Church might have launched a purging campaign, and a gay row is a very convenient excuse to withdraw undesirable hierarchs.