Bearded man in dress finds Conchita 'repulsive'
The Patriarch of Russia's Orthodox Church on Thursday said he found the Eurovision Song Contest repulsive with its "bearded female singers", referring to last year's drag queen winner Conchita Wurst.
Patriarch Kirill railed against the gay-friendly kitsch song contest whose final is on Saturday with Russia's contestant, Polina Gagarina, widely backed to come second with the song "A Million Voices."
If Gagarina wins, next year the contest will come to Russia "with all those bearded female singers," the Patriarch warned, saying such acts promote values that are "repulsive to our soul and our culture," quoted by RIA Novosti news agency.
The Church head called for an alternative, expressing support for "lullabies and patriotic and spiritual songs."
"We need our own contests to promote our own culture, including those that show it to the whole world," he said.
The Russian Orthodox Church has become a powerful voice in politics under President Vladimir Putin. Some 70 percent of Russians identify themselves as believers.
Russia's Eurovision contestant Gagarina this week complained of a storm of online abuse after she posted a video of her kissing Wurst on the cheek on her Instagram account.
When Austrian pop singer Wurst triumphed in 2014, it prompted an outpouring of anti-gay sentiment among Russian officials and some celebrities, although many Russians voted for Wurst in the contest.
The Russian Orthodox Church then warned that Wurst's victory was "culturally legitimising sin."
A joke swiftly became a hit on Twitter about the Church being categorically opposed to bearded men in dresses, since Orthodox priests are obliged to grow beards and wear flowing cassocks.
Gay rights activists later held a Conchita Wurst drag parade in Moscow that was broken up by riot police.
Russia fielded faux-lesbian pop duo t.A.T.u at Eurovision in 2003, coming third.