(Moscow) Vladimir Putin on Tuesday posthumously presented Russia’s highest decoration to an Orthodox priest, recently killed in Ukraine, who had recommended to the mothers of Russian soldiers to have more children to ease their grief.
In a statement, the Kremlin said Mikhail Vasiliev had been awarded the title of “Hero of the Russian Federation” for “his courage and heroism in fulfilling his civic duty”.
On Sunday, the Patriarchate of Moscow announced the death of this priest “in the area of the special operation in Ukraine”, while he was carrying out “his clerical duties”.
Patriarch Kirill, head of the Russian Church, one of the pillars of power of Vladimir Putin, is to celebrate a special mass around the body of the deceased on Wednesday from the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow.
According to Alexander Sladkov, a correspondent for Russian public television, the priest was killed during a Ukrainian bombardment in the occupied region of Kherson, which had been plagued by a counter-offensive from Kyiv for weeks.
“He died like a soldier priest, alongside the paratroopers,” wrote Alexander Sladkov on Telegram on Sunday.
According to the Moscow Patriarchate, Mikhail Vasiliev, born in 1971, had already served as a military chaplain during Russian army operations in Kosovo, Bosnia, the Caucasus and Syria.
Recently, he had been talked about after an interview on the Russian Orthodox television channel “Spa”.
Asked about the case of a Russian mother who had sent her son abroad to prevent him from being mobilized to fight in Ukraine, he had recommended that women have more children to ease their pain.
“If a lady follows the precept of God ‘Be fruitful, multiply’ and refuses in a broad sense all artificial means of termination of pregnancy, then she will generally have more than one child. And so it won’t be so painful to part with it, ”he said.