A gay Russian former priest who fled to Holland has claimed that clergymen sleep with superiors for promotions.
Alexander Usatov was an orthodox Russian priest in Rostov and Novocherkassk diocese until he quit his position a year ago. After facing harassment for coming out, Usatov was forced to leave the church. The amount of bullying he was subjected to from his colleagues and superiors made him flee the country out of fear for his safety. In an article published by Snob, he said that he was able to flee to the Netherlands with the help of LGBT+ activists in EU.
Russia has in recent times seen increasing attacks against the LGBTQI community. A survey last year had reported that one in five Russians advocated eliminating LGBTQI people. In 2020, Australian ambassador Graeme Meehan and top diplomats from the US, UK, Canada and New Zealand had called on Russia to protect the rights of the country’s LGBTQI citizens.
Utasov Came Out To Bishop
Usatov had come out to Metropolitan Mercurius, whose secular name is Igor Ivanov, the head of the Rostov and Novocherkassk diocese. However, a spokesperson for Metropolitan Mercurius denied that the leader ever knew that Usatov was gay. He added that if Usatov’s orientation were known to the leader, he would’ve lost his job “long ago”.
“A homosexual priest would have been asked to remove the cross if he was unable to put on his pants,” he added.
Usatov was accused of “support of [political opposition leader] Navalny, propaganda of opposition ideas and LGBT+ campaigning among young people.” He was fired, and eventually fled the country as he became extremely fearful of the repercussions.
Usatov claimed that priests in the Russian orthodox church slept with high-ranking church leaders for promotion.
‘Never Felt Safe’
He wrote: “Gays in the Russian orthodox church are in a dual situation. On one hand, everyone knows about the existence of the gay lobby and the opportunity to make an easy career after going through the bishop’s bed. On the other hand, most active parishioners of the church are ardent homophobes, and by relying on them, the church is building out of itself a stronghold of traditional sexual morality.”
He added that he has never felt safe in the church as a gay man, and that he had also become an object of persecution by the Metropolitan and his entourage, who knew about his orientation.
However, Usatov is now enjoying his life in the Netherlands and enjoying being his true self which was deprived of “for all 30 years of being in the church.”
“People who tried to harm me, on the contrary, helped me free myself and find a new, more fulfilling life. I do not hold grudges against them, now my thoughts are occupied with tulips, mills, and scientific ideas,” he said. The priest has found peace after all.