Patriarch Kirill, head of the Russian Orthodox Church, has blamed increasing support for gay rights for the rise of ISIS.

“Many honest people,” Kirill said in a television interview, have joined the terrorist group to flee a “godless, secular and even radical in its secularism” civilization.

“We can have parades for the sexual minorities – that is supported, but a million French Christian protesters defending family values are broken up by police,” he said. “If you call nontraditional relationships a sin, as the Bible teaches and you are a priest or pastor, then you risk not only your ability to serve but you may be sent to prison.”

Young people, Kirill said, respond to ISIS' invitation to “build God's world.”

“You become a fighter for the caliphate. So what's a caliphate? It is a society centered around faith and God where people follow religious laws. You are creating a civilization that is new by comparison to the established one that is godless, secular and even radical in its secularism.”

Valery Sozaev, founder of the Russian-based LGBT Christian group Nuntiare and Recreare, denounced Kirill's remarks.

“Patriarch Kirill is justifying religious terrorism,” Sozaev said. “This religion has nothing to do with Christ. It is the religion of human hatred, not love.”