A list of shame was compiled and made public by the Pilgrim Centre of the Patriarchate of Moscow, announcing an “embargo” by Russian pilgrims on specific Metropolises of the Church of Greece. A table with the Metropolises of the Church of Greece is posted on the website of the Pilgrimage Centre, the official pilgrimage site of the Patriarchate of Moscow. According to the Patriarchate of Moscow, Russian pilgrims are not blessed to visit those Metropolises.
The title of the list is “undesirable Metropolises” as if they were “polluters”. Moscow’s move is unprecedented and unthinkable as besides the break of communion they are trying to impose an economic parameter such as a pilgrimage ban.
According to the list, the Metropolises of the Church of Greece, which Russian tourist agencies are not allowed to visit, are the following:
- Holy Archdiocese of Athens
- Holy Metropolis of Langadas
- Holy Metropolis of Veroia
- Holy Metropolis of Arta
- Holy Metropolis of Trikki and Stagoi
- Holy Metropolis of Dimitrias
The Archdiocese of Athens is included in this list because Archbishop Ieronymos recognised Metropolitan Epifaniy of Kyiv while the other five local Metropolitans concelebrated the Divine Liturgy with the priests of the autocephalous Orthodox Church of Ukraine. It is obvious that, besides the name of the Metropolis, the Russians in the list of shame also mention the name and title of each Metropolitan as if they wanted to personally target them and possibly put them in a difficult position and create a conflict with the local communities. The Russians want to show they are blameworthy for this pilgrimage ban because they have recognised the new Church of Ukraine.
In practice, the Patriarchate of Moscow attempts to wage “asymmetrical” war in the Church of Greece with secular sanctions and travel bans, such as those issued by governments to prevent tourists from visiting war zones or cities with terrorist attacks or areas plagued by deadly diseases.
The Pilgrimage Centre was founded in 1999 by the Department for External Church Relations (DECR) of the Patriarchate of Moscow and conducts its activities with the blessing of Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Rus’. It is the official pilgrimage centre of the Moscow Patriarchate.