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ATHENS (LifeSiteNews) – A Greek Orthodox priest was apprehended by police in Athens Saturday after he shouted at Pope Francis as the pontiff entered the Orthodox Archbishopric as part of a three-day visit to the Hellenic Republic. 

The elderly cleric, who has not been named, was filmed shouting “Pope, you are a heretic!” in Greek three times at Francis as he arrived to meet the Orthodox Christian Archbishop of Athens and All Greece, leronymos II, at his palace in Athens. 


The video appears to show that the priest fell as he was escorted from the scene by police. According to a Reuters report, the priest was close enough and shouted loudly enough for the Pope to have heard him. The Vatican has not confirmed whether the Pope was aware of the protest. 

Additional footage shows the priest struggle as he is taken away, later saying again that the Pope is a heretic. 

“The Pope is unacceptable in Greece. He should repent,” the priest added. 

Saturday’s protest followed that of Greek Orthodox Metropolitan Andreas of Konitsa, who in November penned a letter to the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece to voice his objection to Francis’ visit, calling the Pope “the heretic of the Vatican” and promising to boycott the event. 

Metropolitan Andreas lamented “the coming of the heresiarch Francis Bergoglio to Orthodox Greece,” adding that his presence will “only serve to harm the church.” 

The Catholic Church and the Orthodox have been split since 1054 following the Great Schism, the culmination of numerous unresolved disputes between the two groups over matters of a theological and ecclesiastical nature. 

Pope Francis’ visit to the state was only the second time in over 1,000 years that a Pontiff had set foot on Greek soil, the first being Pope John Paul II’s 2001 visit. Like Francis, John Paul II faced opposition from among the hierarchy of the Greek Orthodox Church, who were skeptical of the Polish Pope’s intentions. 

In comments to the Orthodox Primate, Francis said Saturday that Catholics have acted unjustly towards Orthodox Christians, apologizing on behalf of the Catholic Church in a broad and general fashion, asking “for the forgiveness of God and of our brothers and sisters for the mistakes committed by many Catholics.” 

“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,” Francis said. 

“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.” 

In an attempt to cross the divisions between the Churches, Francis said he is “comforted by the certainty that our roots are apostolic and that, notwithstanding the twists and turns of time, what God planted continues to grow and bear fruit in the same Spirit.” 

“It is a grace to recognize one another’s good fruits and to join in thanking the Lord for this,” the Pope concluded.