Members of the Russian Orthodox Church have this week cancelled a joint summit with the Finnish Lutheran Church over a disagreement between the two churches regarding their stance on LGBT rights.
Archbishop Kari Mäkinen of the Finnish Lutheran’s claims the Russian Orthodox Church demanded that he sign a statement condemning gays and lesbians in advance of the planned event.
Archbishop Mäkinen refused and stated that he would not attend the summit, which was planned to be on the subject of Christianity and anthropology.
Talking later to press the Archbishop said “[our church] doesn’t directly condemn homosexuality”.
The Russian Orthodox Church has always held strong anti-gay views and in the past has been a large supporter of Russia’s ban on ‘homosexual propaganda’. Members of the church have often spoken out against homosexuals and alternative lifestyles within Russia.
Despite the Finnish Lutheran’s refusal to accept the Russian Orthodox Church’s homophobic views they have stated that they wish to continue cooperating with their Russian counterparts in the future.
The Finnish Lutheran church is the official state church of Finland and receives large support from state taxes. Although gay marriage is illegal in Finland LGBT people living in the country are protected by a number of anti-discrimination laws and LGBT individuals are much more accepted than in Russia.