Football fans are getting into a
sinful frenzy and transforming themselves into "monkeys" by
watching Euro 2012 matches, a senior Ukrainian cleric said.
"The Church does not bless the frenzy and psychosis that a
person falls into when they watch these games," Filaret, head of
the Ukrainian Orthodox Church - Kiev Patriarchate, was quoted as
saying by UNIAN news agency.
Filaret, whose branch of the Ukrainian Orthodox church has
up to 10 million followers, said his church supported sports and
healthy lifestyle in general.
"Just look at these people's faces," he said. "They are no
longer human, they look more like monkeys than humans. That's
because they lose [emotional] balance.
"It is a sinful state when a man does not control himself.
That is when they drink and fight. We are against that," The
83-year-old cleric said.
Ukraine is co-hosting the European Championship with Poland
at a time when Orthodox Christians are supposed to observe the
Fast of the Holy Apostles and show emotional restraint.
Filaret said he was not following the games or rooting for
the national team who will play a decisive group match against
England on Tuesday.
"I have nothing to do with football ... thus I do not
support football [teams] but I support Ukraine. Football means
nothing at all to me but I am paying attention to what it means
for Ukraine," he said.
Filaret's stance contrasted sharply with the position of the
Polish Catholic Church which has been welcoming fans and
arranging special masses.
Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, the Archbishop of Krakow,
blogged excitedly about Poland's first game, revealing he prayed
for their keeper Przemyslaw Tyton, who made a stunning penalty
save in their opening 1-1 draw with Greece.
The Church's backing, however, did not help the co-hosts to
qualify from their group after a surprise loss to the Czech
Republic last Saturday.
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