Russian priest who advised women to give birth more often as not to be afraid to send children off to war killed in Ukraine

Rector of the Great Martyr Barbara and Saint Iliya Pecherskiy church — Patriarchal monastery at the Headquarters of the Russian Strategic Rocket Forces, located in the Moscow region, protopriest (roughly equivalent to the title of archpriest — translator’s note) Mikhail Vasilyev has “met his death at the front line”, Bishop Savva of Zelenograd says.

In the message on the website of the Moscow Patriarchate, it is clarified that Vasilyev was killed in the morning of 6 October “in the area of the special military operation in Ukraine in the line of pastoral duty”.

Russia media, citing social media, report that the protopriest “was wounded after a shell had exploded a few metres away from him”.

Representative of the Russian Orthodox Church notes that Vasilyev, in his capacity as a priest, went to “hotspots” and participated in “peacekeeping operations in Kosovo, Bosnia, Abkhazia, Kyrgyzstan, North Caucasus, and Syria”.

At the end of October, Vasilyev participated in an episode of a talk show on a Russian Orthodox TV channel Spas, in which he, while answering a question on what women that do not want to send their children off to war should do, advised them to give birth to more children.

“God has permitted every lady to give birth to a lot of kids. If a lady, while fulfilling the commandment to ‘be fruitful and multiply’, gave up the artificial ways of terminating pregnancies <...> then obviously, she would have more than one kid. Which means she will not be as pained and terrified to say goodbye to her child, even if it’s a temporary goodbye,” he said back then.

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