Of course, the clergyman’s backward statements met with a fair amount of criticism. The program director of the Youth Initiative for Human Rights (YIHR), Sofija Todorovic, sees them as a “direct threat” to a whole group of people.
“In this way, officials of the Serbian Orthodox Church abuse their position and legitimacy among the believing citizens of Serbia to promote ideas that are discriminatory and ultimately totally dehumanize a group of people,” she added.
Civil Right Defenders Europe director Goran Miletic told Kurir newspaper that the statement constituted “open hate speech against the LGBT community, but also against Croats and the (gay) Prime Minister of Serbia”.
Incidentally, it is not the first time that the bishop has caused a scandal with a statement. In April 2020, when Serbia was under a state of emergency due to COVID-19 and religious services were restricted, Bishop Nikanor gave a speech urging the faithful to go to church because “it is the best and most healing hospital, and if someone, even if it is a Serbian patriarch or a bishop, advises you that only five people can be in the church, then he either has no religion or is serving in some other ministry”.