Feature

Russia: A holy man caught in a lie

The head of the Russian Orthodox Church was exposed last week as a liar.

Victor Davidoff
The Moscow Times

The head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, was exposed last week as a liar, said Victor Davidoff. The patriarch insisted on television that, contrary to a story published by Ukrainian journalists in 2009 detailing his alleged wealth and corruption, he had never worn a $30,000 Breguet watch. Unfortunately, right there on his official website was a photograph of him in which the watch had been airbrushed off his wrist, but its reflection was still clearly mirrored in the shiny table that his arm was resting on. All of Russia is now laughing at Kirill. And that’s not the only recent gaffe by a church elder. Recently, an archpriest close to the patriarch suggested introducing a national ultramodest dress code “along the lines of what Ayatollah Khomeini prescribed for Iranian women.” One deacon wanted a Picasso exhibit banned, while another called upon young people to scupper a Madonna concert by phoning in fake bomb threats. In the run-up to the recent presidential election, Kirill had his priests deliver sermons urging their congregants to vote for Vladimir Putin. But Kirill and his church have become so out of touch that they risk tarnishing even him. At this point, “the church scandals are reducing the number of potential voters who heed church leaders.” 

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