The Russian Orthodox leader said selfie taking can lead to 'sinful thought'
Patriarch Kirill of Moscow has dubbed the hunt for the perfect profile picture and the obsession over gaining likes on social media as a “disease of society”.
The primate’s comments come after a rise in the trend of dangerous selfie taking in Russia.
About 100 people died or were seriously injured taking selfies in Russia in 2015, according to Russian police figures.
In February, Russian model Viktoria Odintsova was dangled off the side of a 1,000ft skyscraper in Dubai in order to capture a death-defying photo to impress her three million social media followers.
Russian police later warned the model not to repeat the attempt.
Risks like these have not impressed Patriarch Kirill who said young people should not jeopardise their safety for the sake of the perfect snap.
“Today our social nets have a real disease when our young people are ready to do anything, sometimes even [horrific] things, to risk their lives, so that someone says that he likes it,” he said after a liturgy at the Moscow Epiphany Cathedral.
“The English word ‘like’ is used to show such support. Some young people have only one goal, to collect ‘likes’, if there are no ‘likes’ they feel it like a personal tragedy.”
Patriarch Kirill added that selfie culture encouraged sinful thought.
He said: “The whole civilisation is directed to help a person perceive these sinful images. To many people it is important from the point of obtaining money, others pursue more dangerous goals, but it is a fact that there are almost no movies without an image that excite sinful thoughts.”