He is in hospital in a stable condition after he was diagnosed after routine testing. He has also developed pneumonia according to Ukrainian news website 112.international.
Patriarch Filaret, 91, is the head of one of Ukraine’s largest Orthodox congregations but he was heavily criticised for saying the spread of the disease was divine retribution for same sex activity, which his church sees as sinful.
Patriarch Filaret, the head of one of Ukraine’s largest Orthodox churches, has been infected by Covid-19 after claiming it was “divine retribution” for same-sex marriage
It read: “We inform that during planned testing, His Holiness Patriarch Filaret of Kyiv and All Rus-Ukraine tested positive for Covid-19.”
A religious leader who blamed gay people for coronavirus has now contracted the disease.
The Patriarch’s was confirmed in a statement posted on Facebook.
He told Ukrainian TV network Channel 4 that it was “God’s punishment for the sins of men, the sinfulness of humanity. First of all, I mean same-sex marriage”.
But he was slammed by LGBT+ groups in March when he blamed the pandemic on gay people.
Filaret is one of the eastern European country’s most prominent religious leaders, and claims to have 15 millions followers in its 42 million population.
The following month a Ukrainian LGBT+ group said it had sued Filaret, real name Mykhailo Denysenko, for his comments.
A statement said: “As the head of a church and as a man, the Patriarch has the freedom to express his views, which are based on morality.
The Patriarchate, the organisation Filaret represents, claimed his comments were consistent with Ukrainian law.
Maria Guryeva, a spokeswoman for Amnesty International Ukraine, said at the time: “Such statements are very harmful because they could lead to increased attacks, aggression, discrimination and acceptance of violence against certain groups.
Patriarch Filaret is not the only religious leader to blame Covid-19 on gay people since it first spread in China.
“The Patriarchate reserved the right to bring counterclaims against those who sought to abuse judicial protections to encroach on Ukraine’s family values.”
The World Health Organisation has condemned the spread of misinformation, adding that it fuels discrimination.
Prominent leaders in the US and Israel have also claimed the virus is “divine intervention” in response to gay rights increasing.