ROC calls cohabiting women free prostitutes

Dimitry Smirnov.
Photo: RIA Novosti / Kirill Kallinikov

The representative of the Russian Orthodox Church has criticized women who agree to cohabiting, Interfax writes.

At a meeting with members of the OrthodoxBRO community, head of the Patriarchal Commission for Family Affairs Archpriest Dmitry Smirnov said that women do not understand what marriage is.

“They don’t want to say that “I’m a free prostitute,” so they say: I am cohabiting. “No! No, you just provide free services — that’s all, but no one thinks you’re a wife,” he said.

The priest also noted that there are millions more married women in Russia than married men. According to him, the reason for this is that men who live in a civil marriage do not consider their cohabitants as wives.

“It’s just temporary fun. After all, if he treated her like a wife — is it hard to get registered, or what? No, it’s not that hard,” says the Archpriest.

ROC: This is not an insult to women

Commenting on Dmitry Smirnov’s statement, Vakhtang Kipshidze, head of the Synodal Department for Relations of the Church with the Society and Media, stated that the priest’s statement “in his personal vivid manner” was not intended to offend women, but to draw attention to men’s irresponsibility.

“Pastoral experience of the priest shows that men in such cases refuse to take family obligations and often leave cohabiting women for no reason, inflicting psychological trauma on them,” said Kipshidze.

According to Kipshidze, Smirnov wanted to note that “the status of a cohabiting woman humiliates her, makes her vulnerable to an immoral and irresponsible man,” and “happiness in the relationship between a man and a woman can be achieved only on the basis of love and mutual responsibility, which is enshrined, among other things, in marriage, which is registered by the state. The Russian Orthodox Church added that Smirnov’s words “should not be taken literally”.