Orthodox priest shouts ‘Pope, you are a heretic’ at Francis in Athens

Pope Francis arrives at the Orthodox Archbishopric of Greece for a meeting with Greek Orthodox Church Archbishop Ieronimos in Athens, Greece, Dec. 4, 2021. (REUTERS/Louiza Vradi)

ATHENS — An elderly man who appeared to be a Greek Orthodox priest shouted “Pope, you are a heretic” as Pope Francis was entering the Orthodox Archbishopric in Athens on Saturday and was taken away by police.

A video showed the man, who was dressed in black robes and a black hat and had a long white beard, shouting the words in Greek outside the building before police bundled him away.

Witnesses said he shouted loud enough for the pope to hear the commotion. The man appeared to have fallen while being taken away and was lifted up by police and taken away.

Francis arrived in Greece on Saturday for a three-day visit that Greek Roman Catholics hope will bring the Eastern and Western churches closer together.

Christianity split into the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches in 1054 in what is referred to as the Great Schism, and for centuries relations were rocky.

In an attempt to heal the rift, in 2001 John Paul II became the first pope ever to visit Greece. His appeal at that time for forgiveness for historic wrongs committed by Catholics against Orthodox Christians helped to thaw relations.


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