Few days ago Russian Orthodox Church and its patriarch Kirill became the target of mockery on Russian internet.
What happened reminds some kind of theatrical play of comedy genre, which I would title as “Practice what you preach”.
Introduction (by patriarch Kirill)
As an introduction let’s quote His Holiness patriarch Kirill himself (from February 2012).
“It is no secret, there is a danger [coming] from those who share the ideas of high consumption, wealth and the idea that Motherland is where they pay more and life is better. Because these forces might come to power in Russia, and what will this mean for our country? No freedom, no independence. We will lose our sovereignty of the great independent country”- said the Patriarch.
Today’s story starts in 2009 when patriarch Kirill visited Ukraine. Ukrainian journalists paid attention to his watch. The brand was identified as “Breguet” and the watch itself valued to be worth approximately 30,000 Euros.
The article was accompanied with close-up photos of the watch on Kirill’s wrist.
Although this incident created some buzz, with time it was forgotten.
But then the watch was mentioned in one recent interview.
During the meeting with the journalist Vladimir Solovyov, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Kirill said that he never wore a Breguet watch worth $ 30,000 with which he was photographed by Ukrainian journalists. At the same time the Patriarch admitted that he owned such watch.
“When we dress attire for the service, the watch can not be put on, you can not wear a watch. I looked at this picture and realized – this is collage [ed: fake]! But then – after the photo was published, I went to check. Many [people] come and give [gifts]. And there are unopened boxes that nobody knows what’s there inside. And I saw that, indeed, there is Breguet, so I never gave a comment that the patriarch didn’t have such watch. [ed: patriarch, indeed, speaks about himself in third person]. Because – yes – there is a box with the watch, never worn, and it lies there“- Patriarch was quoted by Solovyov on Radio “Vesti FM”.
“Yes, I wear a watch. It was given to me by President (Medvedev). This is our Russian watch, inexpensive neat watch with the national coat of arms“.
Ubiquitous bloggers found few pictures where patriarch wore “Breguet”; not anywhere else but on the official site of ROC (Russian Orthodox Church). The situation was becoming unpleasant…
But awkward attempts to fix it resulted in a shameful flop which was properly mocked all over Russian blogosphere.
Following a statement by Patriarch Kirill that the photographs, in which he wore expensive watch, were fake, bloggers discovered on the site of ROC the picture, where the watch is not on the hand of the patriarch, but it is reflected in the shiny table!
The original picture and the “divine” photoshop have been quickly shared and reposted everywhere else.
About an hour after the start of internet discussions, site of ROC has disabled the function of enlarging the photo. As explained on the site, the photo was taken on July 3, 2009 during the meeting with the Minister of Justice Alexander Konovalov.
After the news about edited picture spread in blogosphere, the original image was restored in the gallery [of ROC site].
Moreover, the press service of patriarch said that:
“[We] principally don’t change images in graphic editors. How the gross violation of our internal ethics occurred in this situation – this question will be properly investigated and the perpetrators will be severely punished“.
The investigation quickly brought results and church representatives found the responsible for these viles of devil.
Deputy Head of Press Service of the Patriarchate, Alexander Volkov said that the 24-year-old inexperienced employee decided to use photo editor to remove the watch from the picture.
Volkov said that the photo was edited by a secular girl, not a nun. “She showed silly, unwarranted initiative without consulting with the management. Obviously, this is a misunderstanding. We don’t want to hide anything, we have nothing to be ashamed of“.
Epilogue (by patriarch Kirill)
And the final word I would also like to leave for patriarch Kirill.
Like the introduction, the source of epilogue is also dated by February 2012.
Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill met with Minister of Communications Igor Shchegolev. He said that Russian society must be protected from immoral content of the Internet. Patriarch Kirill said that currently in Internet ”God fights with the devil.” Patriarch expressed his worries about the contents of online media and its impact on the human soul.