Kirill or Cyril is a Russian Orthodox bishop. He became Patriarch of Moscow and all Rus’ and Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church on 1 February 2009. Wikipedia
According to material from the Soviet archives, Kirill was a KGB agent (as was Alexei). This means he was more than just an informer, of whom there were millions in the Soviet Union. He was an active officer of the organization.
Forbes reported on February 20, 2009 that, “Kirill, who was the Metropolitan of Smolensk, succeeds Alexei II who died in December after 18 years as head of the Russian Church. According to material from the Soviet archives, Kirill was a KGB agent (as was Alexei). This means he was more than just an informer, of whom there were millions in the Soviet Union. He was an active officer of the organization. Neither Kirill nor Alexei ever acknowledged or apologized for their ties with the security agencies.” Further reporting from March 7, 2022 from The Guardian’s Emma Graham-Harrison interviewed local Ukrainians for their opinions about Kirill and the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine. The response was mostly a pessimistic view of Kirill and his motives towards Ukraine based on his past as a KGB agent:
Like many Ukrainians who no longer trust the Russian-linked churches in their country, Yuir is particularly wary of the Moscow Patriarch, Kirill, who according to material from Soviet archives was a government agent before the fall of the USSR. “Kirill is a KGB guy, and he supports all aggression against Ukraine,” he said, but asked not to give his last name, worried like many in the town about community tensions about the church. “He’s a bastard, not a religious leader.”
Inside the Campaign Against “Putin’s Pope”
A close Kremlin ally, the Patriarch of Moscow has blessed the Ukraine invasion. Fellow religious leaders are going after him.
04/15/2022 04:30 AM EDT
Michael Schaffer is a senior editor at POLITICO. His Capital City column runs weekly in POLITICO Magazine.
Like a lot of insiders associated with Vladimir Putin, Vladimir Mikhailovich Gundyayev has faced calls for international ostracism in the weeks since the invasion of Ukraine. It’s no surprise why: He’s used his powerful Moscow perch to endorse the Kremlin’s attack on its neighbor, cheering on the troops and casting their mission as part of a civilizational battle against western decadence.
But unlike the owner of a Russian airline or retail behemoth or energy concern, he’s not the sort of figure consumers can simply boycott or suppliers can just cut off. Gundyayev — formal name: Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and all Russia — is the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church. Which makes the process of kicking him out of polite society a bit trickier, and explains why that process at least partially runs through a small, iconoclastic Washington think tank.
The bill of complaints against Patriarch Kirill is long and ugly. Since taking over Russian orthodoxy’s highest job in 2009, he’s rearranged the church on more authoritarian lines, cemented a close alliance with Putin, and lent ecclesiastical legitimacy to the quasi-mystical, hyper-nationalist Russkiy Mir theory that Putin has used to dismiss the existence of Ukraine as a separate country.
Since the war began, it’s been uglier still. He delivered a sermon calling on Russians to rally around the authorities and “repel enemies both external and internal.” In another, he likened the battle to the struggle between the church and the antichrist. He’s said the war for “Holy Russia” has “metaphysical significance,” the conquest of Ukraine a matter of eternal salvation. For good measure, he’s also said that part of what the Russian forces are combating is the horrific possibility of gay pride parades. Plenty of oligarchs have been canceled for less.
And in the U.S., an evangelical minister named Rob Schenck, who leads a small D.C.-based institute named after the martyred anti-Nazi theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, has championed another venue to exhibit displeasure: He has helped organize a campaign to get the Russian Orthodox Church kicked out of the World Council of Churches, the Geneva-based international organization founded after World War II to promote ecumenical understanding.