In recent years, Smirnov has criticized abortion, laws against domestic violence, and cohabitation without marriage, often using derogatory language to refer to women.
According to Fyodor Lukyanov, a church official, he died of a chronic illness unrelated to coronavirus.
Smirnov gained notoriety in February 2019, when he called abortions “worse than the Holocaust,” questioning why the state “pays for the murder of its own citizens.”
In February 2020, Smirnov came under fire after dismissing unmarried women who cohabitate with men “free prostitutes,” claiming that live-in-girlfriends are just a “temporary joy.”
“Hello! No, you just provide services for free – and that's all, and no one counts you as their wife,” Smirnov said. The Church itself explained the statement as merely “unsuccessful trolling.”
In spring, the archpriest stated that girls should study how to be mothers rather than go to school, believing that it would just teach them “jealousy, name-calling, bad words, and rudeness to teachers.” This comment came a year after he claimed that men are smarter than women, labeling high-achieving females such as Marie Curie as a “rarity.”
Following his many controversial statements, Smirnov was awarded ‘Sexist of the Year 2020’, a prize given out every Women's Day.
Aside from sexism, Smirnov gained international recognition for supporting the practice of blessing Russia's nuclear weapons arsenal, calling them a “wonderful invention.”
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