Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, Archbishop of Constantinople, has called gay relationships “reprehensible,” and said that cohabitations between same-sex couples are “new inventions.”

While in Estonia, the Archbishop said in a statement that cohabitations between gay people are sinful and will never be accepted by the Church.

He said that for the Church “the cohabitation between two people of the same sex is a known reprehensible.”

He also added that these relationships are new “inventions” made out of sin.

It is the first time the Ecumenical Patriarch has taken a clear stance on same-sex relationships.

Bartholomew I has been visiting Tallinn, Estonia, since September 4, 2013, in order to preside over celebrations for the 90th anniversary since the declaration of the Estonian Church as Autonomous by the Mother Church of Constantinople.

In a recent letter to LGBT activist groups in India this week, the Archbishop of Mumbai said he would advise priests to be more sensitive while referring to gay people in public sermons, affirming “to say those with other sexual orientations are sinners is wrong.”