Pope Francis Confronted by Angry Orthodox Priest: ‘You Are a Heretic!’
The priest shouted at Francis as he arrived at the residence of Archbishop Ieronymos
An elderly Greek Orthodox priest heckled Pope Francis during his visit for a meeting with the head of Greece's Orthodox Church.
The incident marks the prevalent distrust between some Orthodox and Catholics centuries after Christianity was cleaved in half.
The priest shouted at Francis as he arrived at the residence of Archbishop Ieronymos in the Greek capital of Athens.
“Pope, you are a heretic!” he shouted three times.
The priest fell to the ground as the police led him away.
Francis did not seem to notice as he walked into the residence for his private meeting.
The Pope also faced protests in the island of Cyprus, which is predominantly Eastern Orthodox.
“Pope, you’re a heretic!”— Bloomberg Quicktake (@Quicktake) December 4, 2021
Pope Francis was heckled by an elderly Orthodox priest on Saturday as he arrived for a meeting with the leader of Greece’s Orthodox Church, Archbishop Ieronymos pic.twitter.com/4X96zV7Q3P
Despite this, the two Christian leaders could not have been more friendly in their shared call for Christians to work together to protect migrants.
Francis was welcomed “with a feeling of honor and fraternity.”
Francis’ state visit to Greece comes two decades after St. John Paul II made the first such visit to Greece and used the visit to apologize for the sins “by action or omission” committed by Catholics against Orthodox over the centuries.
Francis apologized again in front of Ieronymos and other Orthodox prelates.
Ieronymos told Francis he shared the Pope's vision to forge strong ties to face global challenges like climate change and immigration.
“If the world community, the leaders of powerful states, and international organizations do not take bold decisions, the ever-threatening presence of vulnerable refugee women and children will continue to grow globally,” Ieronymos warned.
“Together, we must shake the rocks and the walls against the intransigence of the powerful of the Earth.”
Last week, Francis told a gathering of priests in the island nation of Cyprus that there are “no walls in the Catholic Church.”
The Pontiff asserted that the church is Catholic, “that is, universal, an open space in which all are welcomed and reached by the mercy of God and the invitation to love."
The pope then credited mass immigration for giving the Church a “multicolored” visage.