Swiss university bans Metropolitan Hilarion for his silence on the war


Central Europe


Hilarion. Photo CNE.news, Evert van Vlastuin

The University of Fribourg in Switzerland has suspended the influential Russian Orthodox Metropolitan Hilarion. According to the university, the prelate did not speak out sufficiently against the war.

On Tuesday, Mariano Delgado, the dean of the theology faculty of the University of Fribourg, announced that the position of Metropolitan Hilarion was suspended until further notice.

In his statement, Delgado said that through a public statement and a private letter, he expressed his expectation towards Hilarion that the Metropolitan would use his "his ecclesiastical and political influence, to publicly and unequivocally condemn the military invasion of Ukraine by Russia".

However, Hilarion did not do so. In a letter dated March 3rd, Metropolitan Hilarion informed Delgado that he and his Church have been engaged in the humanitarian field in the context of the Ukrainian conflict since 2014, and that they are doing everything possible to help people in need and end the conflict.

That letter was not satisfying for Delgado. He says that he is disappointed that Hilarion, a long-time tenured professor in our Faculty, does not seem to be able to “oppose Russia's blatant violation of international law”.

Gay pride

Delgado is particularly concerned about the views of Hilarion since he remained silent when his superior, Patriarch Kirill, made notable comments on the war.

According to Kirill, the war is a "metaphysical battle" for the future of mankind. The Patriarch said this in a sermon last Sunday. He furthermore stated that Ukraine is hosting gay pride parades in order to be able to join western countries. Kirill therefore characterised gay pride parades as some kind of loyalty test to Western governments. “If humanity accepts that sin is not a violation of God's law, if humanity accepts that sin is a variation of human behaviour, then human civilisation will end there.”

Meanwhile, Metropolitan Hilarion kept silent. That is the reason why the university is suspending his position. “As Metropolitan Hilarion seems to be adopting the position of his Patriarch by his silence, I declare that the position of full professor that was granted to him in 2011 is suspended until further notice,” Delgado said.


The University of Fribourg, a public university in western Switzerland, traces its history back to 1580, when the notable Jesuit Peter Canisius founded the Collège Saint-Michel in the City of Fribourg.

The Catholic news agency reports that its theology faculty is the largest in Switzerland and is supported by the Dominican Order and the Swiss Catholic bishops’ conference.



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