The priests of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) are facing problems obtaining Schengen visas through the Greek consulate due to the conflict between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Patriarchate of Constantinople over the issue of granting autocephaly to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC).

"This is the policy of the Greek government. Now the priests of the ROC are perceived as potential spies and agents of influence," a source close to Constantinople said, the BBC's Russian Service reports.

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At the same time, the ROC and Constantinople said the problems with visas for Russian priests are related to the process of granting tomos to the UOC.

"The Patriarchate of Constantinople is struggling with the Russian Church for influence in the Orthodox world. The Moscow and Constantinople Patriarchates are in tense relations today because of Ukraine," a source close to the Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church said.

As UNIAN reported earlier, the Greek government expelled two Russian diplomats, and banned from entry two more diplomats, accusing them of interference in domestic affairs and illegal actions against Greece's national security.