2018-08-10 10:43:00

Russian Foreign Ministry asks Greek embassy for explanations on problems with issuing visas to priests

Moscow, August 10, Interfax - The Russian Foreign Ministry has sent a note to the Greek embassy seeking explanations on the problems with issuing visas to priests, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said.

"We saw the Tsargrad materials and a publication on social networks. We have sent the relevant note to the Greek Embassy in Moscow seeking explanations on the situation, and seeking to confirm or refute, and to give some explanations on this score," Zakharova said at a press briefing in Moscow.

"So, we are waiting for the Greek side's response now," she added.

"The Foreign Ministry is always closely following the situation with issuing visas to Russian citizens. Of course, any discrimination with issuing visas, either due to national, or professional, or religious identity is unacceptable," Zakharova said.

On August 6, Archpriest Vladimir Vigilyansky, the former spokesman of Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia and the father superior of St. Tatiana Church at Moscow State University, said that he had encountered the Greek authorities' reluctance to issue long-term visas to priests.

He faced this problem for the first time in the past 25 years, when he has repeatedly received long-term Schengen visas, processing them at the consulates of France, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, and at the Greek Consulate General several times.

After the first publication about this problem many Russian priests said that they faced the same story, when visas have been issued for a week, for two weeks, and at most for a month in the past six months.