The Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill, a strong supporter of Russian President Vladimir Putin, worked for Soviet intelligence while living in Switzerland in the 1970s, Swiss newspapers reported, citing declassified archives.
The Swiss police file on the man who today serves as the spiritual head of the Russian Orthodox Church “confirms that ‘Monsignor Kirill,’ as he is referred to in this document, worked for the KGB,” the Sonntagszeitung and Le Matin Dimanche weeklies reported.
The two papers said they had gained access to the file in the Swiss national archives.
Photo: AP / The State Duma
Kirill, who today is a fervent supporter of Putin’s war in Ukraine, lived in Geneva in the early 1970s, officially as a representative of the Russian Orthodox Church at the World Council of Churches (WCC).
‘NOT AN AGENT’
Under the code name “Mikhailov,” Kirill’s mission was to influence the council, already infiltrated by the KGB, the papers said.
The Russian Orthodox Church has refused to comment on Kirill’s spying activity in Geneva, while the WCC had maintained it had no information about the case, they said.
However, the archives showed the Soviet objective was to push the institution to denounce the US and its allies, and to tone down its criticism of the lack of religious freedoms in the Soviet Union, they said.
The patriarch’s nephew Mikhail Gundyaev, who represents the Russian church at the WCC in Geneva, told Le Matin Dimanche that his uncle “was not an agent, although he was subjected to ‘strict controls’ by the KGB.”
And this “did not affect the sincerity of his engagement in ecumenical work with other churches,” Gundyaev said, adding that his uncle had had a special appreciation for Switzerland.
Kirill has visited the wealthy, Alpine nation at least 43 times, the paper reported.
He was, among other things, passionate about skiing, even reportedly breaking a leg on the Swiss slopes in 2007.
“Between religious diplomacy, espionage and finances, Kirill has continuously been drawn to the Alps and the shores of Lake Geneva,” Le Matin Dimanche said.
“I have special feelings for your country,” the patriarch said in 2019 upon receiving the president of the upper house of the Swiss parliament.
“Of all the countries in the world, it is possibly the one I have visited the most often,” he said.
Vaccines that protect against severe illness, death and lingering long COVID-19 symptoms from a SARS-CoV-2 infection were linked to small increases in neurological, blood and heart-related conditions in the largest global vaccine safety study to date. The rare events — identified early in the pandemic — included a higher risk of heart-related inflammation from mRNA shots made by Pfizer Inc, BioNTech SE and Moderna Inc, and an increased risk of a type of blood clot in the brain after immunization with viral-vector vaccines such as the one developed by the University of Oxford and made by AstraZeneca PLC. The viral-vector jabs were
A steam of sweat rose as hundreds of naked men tussled over a bag of wooden talismans, performing a dramatic end to a thousand-year-old ritual in Japan that took place for the last time. Their passionate chants of “jasso, joyasa” (“evil, be gone”) echoed through a ceder forest in Japan’s Iwate Prefecture, where the secluded Kokuseki Temple is ending the popular annual rite. Organizing the event, which draws hundreds of participants and thousands of tourists every year, has become a heavy burden for the aging local faithful, who find it hard to keep up with the rigors of the ritual. The Sominsai festival,
‘PUTIN IS RESPONSIBLE’: Authorities detained more than 100 people in Russia, as mourners remembered the opposition leader outside embassies around the world Floral tributes to Alexei Navalny, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s fiercest foe who died on Friday in a Russian penal colony, were removed overnight by groups of unidentified people while police watched, videos on Russian social media show. More than 100 people were detained in eight cities across Russia after they came to lay flowers in memory of Navalny, said OVD-Info, a group that monitors political repression in Russia. Yesterday, police blocked access to a memorial in the Siberian city of Novosibirsk and detained several people there as well as in another Siberian city, Surgut, OVD-Info said. Video footage shared on social media
COLLECTIVE ACTION: Over 150 trainee doctors quit over the government’s plan to increase medical school admissions by 2,000 students next school year The South Korean government yesterday warned that trainee doctors were putting public health at risk after more than 150 tendered their resignations to protest a government plan to admit more students to medical schools. The South Korean Ministry of Health and Welfare said it had issued a back-to-work order to the 154 doctors at seven hospitals, warning that refusing to comply would result in punishment. The government plans to raise medical school admissions by 2,000 students for the 2025 academic year and to add 10,000 doctors by 2035. Currently, about 3,000 students enter medical schools each year. The plan has drawn intense protests