- A Russian Orthodox priest deleted his Instagram account and apologised for posting photos with products from Louis Vuitton and Gucci.
- The church said it was investigating the priest and that he will be disciplined.
- The priest said he didn’t buy the designer shoes and bags, but took photos of them in stores.
A Russian Orthodox priest has deleted his Instagram account and said he will “pay penance” after going viral for flaunting Prada and Louis Vuitton slippers and bags on his account.
“I am very ashamed and I bear full responsibility for this,” the priest, Vyacheslav Baskakov, wrote in a statement translated by the Moscow Times. “I will pay penance and close Instagram, since I do not know how to behave modestly and adequately.”
Baskakov’s feed drew wide attention in Russia this month when he posted photos where he wore Gucci shoes, carried a Louis Vuitton handbag, and showed off other products from luxury brands.He was dubbed the “Gucci priest.”
On Sunday, church leaders criticised Baskakov and said the Russian Orthodox Church would investigate him. Alexander Volkov, the spokesman for Vladimir Mikhailovich Gundyayev, the head of the Russian Orthodox church, told The Guardian that a disciplinary committee will “bring [him] to his senses.”
“I hope this will bring this shepherd to account,” Volkov said. “The life of a priest cannot be divided between the personal and public and no clergyman can act like a priest in a church from the morning until lunch and then be whoever he wants from lunch until evening.”
In his apology statement, Baskakov denied actually purchasing any of the luxury goods he posted, saying he took photos in shops. He said he sometimes sewed expensive-looking buckles and accessories on his shoes to make them look nicer.
“They’re inexpensive shoes, but they look festive,” he wrote.
Vladimir Mikhailovich Gundyayev, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, was himself caught in a similar scandal in 2012, according to The Guardian. He was widely criticised after a photo of him wearing a Breguet watch worth $US30,000 circulated online. Church employees Photoshopped the watch out of the photo, but its reflection was still visible elsewhere in the picture.
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