KRASNOYARSK, – The Russian Orthodox Church on Thursday played down a senior cleric's call for lying politicians to be damned to hell, saying it was meant as nothing more than spiritual guidance.
Father Panteleimon, the leader of the Orthodox diocese in Russia’s Krasnoyarsk territory in Siberia, made the remark during a pre-recorded television sermon broadcast this week in which he inveighed against deceptive politicians.
The regional press office for the Russian Orthodox Church said the words were not directed at any person in particular.
“Politicians [were] given as an example that’s understandable to ordinary people,” press secretary Andrei Skvortsov said.
Skvortsov said that Father Panteleimon’s regular television slot, entitled “The Word of the Metropolitan,” was recorded a month or two in advance and had nothing to do with current political issues.
Father Panteleimon had cited a common proverb, which asserts that the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and applied it to politicians’ campaign promises.
“When [politicians] run in elections, what do they promise? And what do we get? They will go to hell for their deception of the people,” Father Panteleimon said. “And we, who are believers, must pray for them.”
Father Panteleimon addresses a wide variety of religious questions, such as free will, confession, death and angels, in short weekly addresses that are broadcast on a local television channel and posted to its website.