The Chancellor of Moscow Patriarchate, Metropolitan Varsonofy of St. Petersburg and Ladoga has been refused a Greek visa ahead of his planned pilgrimage to Athos.

"For many years the archbishop has been going on a pilgrimage to Athos. This year, he was denied a Schengen visa," the Chancellery told TASS.

As UNIAN reported earlier, the priests of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) had been facing problems obtaining Schengen visas through the Greek consulate amid the conflict between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Patriarchate of Constantinople over the issue of granting autocephaly to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC).

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"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 told the BBC Russian Service.