Pope Francis will be meeting Russian Patriarch Kirill in Cuba. There are some things about the Russian Orthodox Church that are interesting. Perhaps the most entertaining are the 2012 shenanigans surrounding Patriarch Kirill's $30,000 Breguet watch.
Russian clergy of all ranks can be found blessing AK-47s, machine guns, air-to-ground missiles and even ICBMs. They named a nuclear ballistic missile submarine after one of their saints: Alexander Nevsky. Not that Catholic countries have never done that; just not in a very long time. And not vessels designed to deliver nuclear warheads capable of wiping out entire cities.
The Patriarch appeared on his official website wearing the watch. Then it mysteriously disappeared in fine Stalinesque fashion. Patriarch Kirill insisted to a Russian journalist that he had never worn the watch, and the photo must have been doctored.
The only problem was that whoever photoshopped the watch away neglected to eliminate its reflection on the table. Whoops.
|Note reflections of watch on table top in both pictures.|
Pope Francis will no doubt know that the Patriarch of Moscow represents a Russian Orthodox Church that is wed to the Russian government and Vladimir Putin in a way scarcely imaginable to us in the West.
|Russian Bishop blesses missile destined for Syrian rebels.|
Pope Francis will not so much be meeting a religious leader in Cuba, as an important, but subsidiary part of the Russian government.