Organizers of a gay pride parade in Sofia, Bulgaria, are pleading with the church to stop calls for violence against marchers.
Father Evgeniy Yanakiev said ‘stones should be thrown’ at participants during the event in the Bulgarian capital on 30 June.
His comments have outraged the Sofia Pride initiative committee who are calling on the Bulgarian Orthodox Church to distance itself from the priest’s extremist views, reported the Sofia News Agency.
However, the church has responded by condemning the pride parade, slamming it as ‘immoral’ and calling homosexuality ‘an unnatural passion that undoubtedly harms the personality, the family and the society’.
The church also warned parents and teachers to stop children from taking part in the event, claiming it was a ‘harmful demonstration that violates the rights of Orthodox Christians’.
The parade, which this year enjoys its fifth birthday, is being backed by embassies from around the world, including the US, Britain, Germany, Slovenia, France and Norway.