Singer Elton John has been branded a “sinner” by the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
The homosexual star – who has been told he cannot adopt a 14-month-old boy from the country – has been criticised by the religious group who have “thanked God” he won’t be allowed to care for the child.
Spokesman Father Georgy Gulyaev of the Donetsk Diocese of the Orthodox Church is quoted by Britain’s Daily Mail newspaper as saying: "Thank God it's impossible under Ukrainian law for Elton John to adopt a child. It's written in Holy Scriptures that homosexual marriage and relations is a sin.
"It is a sin, it is against nature, and it represents the dead end of human development.
"People pretend to have good intentions, create semi-marriages and so-called families, and moreover they dare to adopt children. Unlike people who are blessed by God to create natural families, these are people who succumb to their passions.
"This is definitely a sin, there is no other word for it, and the church will never agree that people who have created same-sex ‘marriage’ could also dare to adopt children.
"This applies to all, including Elton John. He is a sinner."
The 62-year-old singer – who married his long-term partner David Furnish in a civil ceremony in 2005 – admitted his heart had been “stolen” by Lev when he met him at an orphanage in Makeyevka at the weekend.
This news comes shortly after Ukraine’s Family, Youth and Sports Minister Yuriy Pavlenko revealed there had been no official adoption request made by the celebrity couple.
Under Ukrainian law, adoptive parents must be no more than 45 years older than an adopted child - Elton is more than 60 years older than Lev.
Same-sex couples are also forbidden from adopting because homosexual marriages are not recognised in the Eastern European country.
The matter is further complicated by the fact the Lev's mother – who is HIV positive - has not relinquished her parental rights, meaning the child is not officially up for adoption.