A Greek Orthodox cleric was recorded on video shouting “Pope, you are a heretic!” as Pope Francis entered a meeting with Greek Orthodox leaders. The cleric was dragged away by police.
Catholic News Agency reporter Hannah Brockhaus reported that Francis “was protested as he entered a meeting with his Beatitude Ieronymos II and other Greek Orthodox leaders in Athens today.” Video shows the man being taken to the floor then carried away by police as he continued shouting at Francis.
Pope Francis was protested as he entered a meeting with His Beatitude Ieronymos II and other Greek Orthodox leaders in Athens today.
A Greek Orthodox cleric shouted, “Pope, you are a heretic!” before being drug away by police.
Video by Vatican press pool (VAMP) pic.twitter.com/zUXxZy4gnR
— Hannah Brockhaus (@HannahBrockhaus) December 4, 2021
According to the Catholic News Agency, this incident and those like it within Greece reflect “a longstanding suspicion of the pope in some corners of the Greek Orthodox Church.” The report notes that Pope John Paul II’s 2001 visit to Greece was “the first by a Catholic pope in over 1,000 years.”
Francis went on to apologize to the Greek Orthodox leaders for the sins of the Catholic Church, as reported Brockhaus:
“Shamefully, patriarch, — I acknowledge this for the Catholic Church — actions and decisions that had little or nothing to do with Jesus and the Gospel, but were instead marked by a thirst for advantage and power, gravely weakened our communion,” the pope said on Dec. 4.
“In this way, we let fruitfulness be compromised by division,” he added. “History makes its weight felt, and here, today, I feel the need to ask anew for the forgiveness of God and of our brothers and sisters for the mistakes committed by many Catholics.”
The pontiff has been the subject of controversy both within the Catholic Church and within Rome, as he is perceived as generally favoring left wing causes. In October, Francis compared George Floyd to the Biblical “Good Samaritan” and praised Black Lives Matter rioters for being something he called “social poets.”
Also in October, Francis was criticized for demanding the Catholic Church be an “open place where everyone feels welcome” from his seat in the Vatican City, nestled in the heart of Rome, even as vaccine passport protests raged outside.
In the United States, the Catholic University of America has recently come under fire for its decision to display a painting depicting George Floyd as Jesus Christ. The painting was recently stolen, adding to the controversy.