Greece refuses visa to Moscow Patriarchate chancellor
MOSCOW. Sept 8 (Interfax) - The Chancellor of Moscow Patriarchate, Metropolitan Varsonofy of St. Petersburg and Ladoga has been refused a Greek visa.
"For many years the archbishop would go on a pilgrimage to [Mount] Athos; however, this time he could not get the Greek visa," the chancellery told Interfax on Saturday.
The case concerns "precisely a civilian visa, not a denial of permission to visit Athos, which is issued by church authorities," the spokesperson said.
It was reported that in early August the Russian Foreign Ministry asked Greece's Embassy to explain the problems with issuing visas to Russian clerics.
A few days earlier Patriarch Kirill's press secretary Vladimir Vigilyansky said on Facebook that the Greek authorities' reluctance to issue Russian clerics with long-term visas was something he saw for the first time in 25 years. Many Russian priests left comments reporting a similar problem: they were given a Greek visa for a week or two, maximum for a month, Father Vladimir said.