The Russian Orthodox Church says giving Patriarch Kirill an anti-award for his “miracle-stained arms” following a scandal around his “vanishing” watch was an insult to all believers.
In the row-provoking incident, Kirill was seen sporting a luxury timepiece in one photo. Then, sometime later, the watch “miraculously” disappeared from Kirill’s wrist in a subsequent photo on the Patriarchate’s website. Eagle-eyed web surfers noticed that while no watch was visible on Kirill, there was a reflection of it on the shiny polished table at which he was sitting.
On Monday evening, the annual Silver Galosh award ceremony for the most questionable achievements in showbiz took place in Moscow. Patriarch Kirill won the prize in the nomination “Miracle-stained arms.”
“An insult to the Patriarch – and that was certainly an insult – hurts every member of the Russian Orthodox Church, every Christian person. I am calling on everyone to stop these insults,” Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin told the Russian News Service, commenting on the news.
The head of the Patriarch’s press-service, Deacon Aleksandr Volkov said that those responsible for the award are people of a “very low level of intellectual development”.
“There have always been people within society called jesters,” he noted to Interfax agency. Volkov expressed hope that Russian society will be “a lot more spiritually healthy than that small group of people who try to play the buffoon and organize pointless and tactless actions relating to the head of the Russian Orthodox Church.”
Back in April, the Patriarchate explained the mishap with the watch saying that is was “a ridiculous mistake” made by a web editor who had “acted out of stupid, unjustifiable and unauthorized initiative”.
The head of the Russian Church called the scandal-provoking photo with the pricey timepiece “a collage” and admitted that he does wear a watch, but not an expensive one – a gift from Dmitry Medvedev. He also added that priests never wear watches with their vestment for church services, which he was wearing in the picture that rocked the Russian blogosphere.
“But after that photo appeared, I went to have a look at something, since many (people) come and make gifts. And often there are boxes that you don’t open and have no idea what is inside them,” he told popular TV host Vladimir Soloviev. “And I discovered that there really was a Breguet watch (among the gifts),” the journalist quoted him as saying. Patriarch Kirill added that it is unethical to refuse presents, “but I don’t use them either.”
The Silver Galosh award is organized by Russia’s Silver Rain radio station. Along with Patriarch Kirill, this year the Galosh went to several politicians, including former presidential candidate, leader of the LibDems Vladimir Zhirinovsky.