Refusal of visa to Russian bishop is scandalous—Russian Church representative

Moscow, September 13, 2018

Photo: RIA-Novosti Photo: RIA-Novosti

A representative of the Russian Orthodox Church has responded to Greece’s refusal to issue a visa to His Eminence Metropolitan Barsanuphius of St. Petersburg and Ladoga, calling it unexpected and scandalous.

The Russian Church is still waiting for clarification on the matter, reports Interfax-Religion.

“This incident with Vladyka Barsanuphius really went beyond all decency; it’s even being widely discussed in Greece itself. If a hierarch of such a rank can’t enter the country, despite that he has open entry into any other European country, it is a scandal,” Archpriest Igor Yakimchuk, the Secretary for Inter-Orthodox Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations stated today.

As reported on Monday, Met. Barsanuphius was planning to go on pilgrimage to Mt. Athos, as he has many times before, but was denied a visa to Greece. Several Russian priests also recently raised concerns about being denied visas or being offered only short-term visas to Greece.

Fr. Igor noted that “hardly anyone could have expected such an attitude towards a clergyman from an Orthodox country, which the Greek Republic is according to its constitution.”

The Russian Foreign Ministry contacted the Greek Embassy in early August, asking for clarification on the issue, but has yet to receive any answer.

The Russian Church is also expecting an answer: “We expect clarification, because so far none of the Greek diplomats have clearly explained to us what is happening,” the synodal department representative said.

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