News Brief

The Antichrist Is Coming Through Your Smartphone, Orthodox Church Warns; Russians ‘LOL’

Warnings from the head of the Russian Orthodox Church that our addiction to smartphones could help the “Antichrist” take over the world have been greeted with derision by many Russian internet users, the BBC has reported.

In an interview with the state television channel Rossiya1, Patriarch Kirill said smartphone users should take care using what he called the “worldwide web of gadgets” because it represented “an opportunity to gain global control over mankind”.

It would be the “Antichrist,” he warned, who would end up “at the head of the world-wide web, controlling all of humankind.”

“Every time you use your gadget, whether you like it or not, whether you turn on your location or not, somebody can find out exactly where you are, exactly what your interests are and exactly what you are scared of,” Kirill told the channel.

“Such control from one place forebodes the coming of the Antichrist.”

Patriarch Kirill said the Orthodox Church did not oppose “technological progress”, rather “the development of a system that is aimed at controlling a person’s identity”.

The Patriarch is close to President Vladimir Putin, so many Russian internet users have interpreted his remarks as being an effort to give divine authority to Kremlin efforts to curtail freedom of expression online.

“The Church is not against science and technological progress, but is concerned about the freedom of the individual. Yeah, sure,” one Twitter user joked sarcastically.

“They ban international internet in Russia so that the Antichrist doesn’t come out of it,” was the line taken in another post reported by the BBC.

The Patriarch’s remarks during a turbulent time for the Eastern Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church of Ukraine recently severed ties with its Russian counterpart, ending centuries of Russian leadership. That has sparked fury in the Russian Orthodox Church, with some of its priests condemning Ukraine’s move as “the devil’s work.”