Russian Orthodox Church cuts ties with Church of Scotland over gay clergy

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

The Russian Orthodox Church has formally severed its ties with the Church of Scotland – after the Scottish church approved plans for openly gay ministers.

The Kirk’s General Assemblyconvened last month, voting by 309-182 in favour of proposals to allow the ordination of gay ministers, after last year securing the backing of a majority of local presbyteries.

However, as the Church loses support from some more conservative Evangelical groups, it has also unsurprisingly upset the Russian Orthodox Church.

Russia’s state church – which is credited for rising anti-gay sentiment in the country through an ‘unholy alliance’ with President Putin – formally moved to cut its ties with the Kirk this week.

According to Radio Free Europe, the Moscow Patriarchate said earlier this week that “formal contacts” with the Church of Scotland and France’s United Protestant Church – which voted to allow blessings for gay weddings – were now pointless.

It said: “We regretfully acknowledge that today we have a new divide in the Christian world, not only regarding theological subjects, but regarding moral issues as well.”

A reply from Scotland’s national Church said: “The Church of Scotland’s position on same-sex unions has been determined by its supreme court, the General Assembly, made up of more than 700 church representatives from all over Scotland.

“We are saddened the Russian Orthodox church has taken this decision. We remain brothers and sisters in Christ.”