Russian Priest Rebuked After Flaunting Gucci Lifestyle On Instagram

December 11, 2018 | No Comments » | Topics: Story

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Russia’s Orthodox Church is investigating one of its priests over a series of Instagram photographs in which he is seen flaunting luxury clothing brands.

Vyacheslav Baskakov, a priest in the Tver region near Moscow, sparked controversy late last week with a series of photographs featuring expensive clothes including a Louis Vuitton signature handbag and Gucci shoes. The Instagram account that hosted the pictures has since been taken down, but not before social media users widely distributed the images.

Church leaders have chided Baskakov for “poor taste” and said a disciplinary committee had been convened to “bring [him] to his senses”.

“I hope this will bring this shepherd to account,” said Alexander Volkov, the spokesman for the Russian Orthodox patriarch Kirill. “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.”

Kirill himself suffered a similar scandal in 2012 after he was caught in a meeting wearing a Breguet watch worth an estimated $30,000 (£24,000). His aides airbrushed the luxury timepiece out of a photograph but failed to erase the watch face’s reflection in a polished wooden table. The church apologised.

Baskakov apologised on Sunday for his photographs, saying he would “suffer penance and shut down the Instagram, since I can’t behave myself humbly and appropriately”.

But he denied owning the items from Gucci and Louis Vuitton, saying he had taken most of the photographs in stores. Sometimes, he said, he sewed expensive-looking buckles on to his modest footwear.

“So they’re inexpensive shoes, but they look festive,” he wrote.

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