A very stylish Russian priest has found himself in trouble for buying too many Gucci and Louis Vuitton products.
I think people often imagine priests to live quite simple lives; finding pleasure in the beauty of the natural world, and being more concerned with life in general than the clothes they wear and what they post on social media.
While that might fit the description for some, it seems Russian Orthodox priest Vyacheslav Baskakov can’t resist a designer label, and loved sharing pictures of his supposedly pricey purchases with his congregation – and followers – on Instagram.
Though God loves all his children, the church wasn’t too impressed with Baskakov’s lavish habits, and reprimanded him for spending immodest amounts of money on flashy gear, saying it was in ‘poor taste’.
According to Dazed, spokesman for the Russian Orthodox patriarch Kirill said:
The life of a priest cannot be divided between the personal and public and no clergyman can act like a priest in a church from the morning until lunch and then be whoever he wants from lunch until evening.
The priest’s Insta account has unfortunately since been deleted, but in its prime it showed off Louis Vuitton sliders and luggage, as well as a bamboo-handle Dionysus bag complete with matching buckled shoes.
After he was called out by the church, Baskakov wrote a letter to express regret for his actions, explaining he had shared pictures of the accessories in a display of freedom.
The letter read:
I am very ashamed and I bear full responsibility for this.
I will pay penance and close Instagram, since I do not know how to behave modestly and adequately. I tried to be an open person. I was warned [against it], but I fought for this freedom.
The Moscow Times report Baskakov will be investigated by the church disciplinary committee in an attempt to ‘return him to his senses’.
As entertaining as it might be to imagine the priest leading his sermons in designer sliders, he admitted many of the images, including one of a pair of Gucci slippers, were taken in shops and he didn’t actually own them.
His letter continued:
The majority of the pictures were taken inside shops…No priest can afford such things. And what for?
He added how he sometimes sewed buckles and trims on to cheap shoes to jazz them up a bit, explaining how they were ‘inexpensive, but they look festive’.
Well I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that – obviously unless it became a case of counterfeit items, but I’m sure the priest just enjoyed having that little extra flashiness.
Baskakov says he suffers from neuralgia, a condition which causes short, sharp pain along the course of a nerve. He explained how a doctor once told him a ‘change of scenery’ could help offset the symptoms, and this is what led him to the designer accessories.
So that’s what it came to, changing what I could — [my] shoes and scarf.
Hopefully he’ll find another way to express himself which the church are more on board with!
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Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.