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© Photo The Moscow Patriarchate

Church apologizes over the case of the disappearing watch

by at 05/04/2012 14:41

The Russian Orthodox Church is trying to explain a PR gaffe in which an expensive-looking watch vanished off Patriarch Kirill’s hand in official images on its website.

The watch, seen in images published on the Moscow patriarchy website, makes appearances in some photos only to then disappear in others, and can occasionally be seen in the reflection of the patriarch’s hand on a table, while not being visible on his wrist.

The Church says it was a mistake by a photo editor.

Personal initiative

“Employees of the press-service’s photo team, when working with the photo archive on the website, made a silly mistake,” a spokesperson explained.

The photo on patriarchia.ru was edited by a woman, 24, “a civilian, not a nun,” Russkaya Sluzhba Novostei reported, citing the deputy head of the press service.

“The person simply showed stupid initiative, not justified by anything and not agreed with superiors. It is clear that it is a mistake. We do not want to hide anything, we have nothing to be ashamed of,” the press-service said.

The employee, however, will not be punished. “We value our employees, and when they make mistakes, we try to correct them at first, to explain them to the person.”

Technical error

The patriarchy website did not reveal the cost and the make of his watch.

“One of the main principles of our work is to not use photo-editing programs to change images. The editing of photo always only concerns the color and other technical data,” said the official statement.

The statement, however, insists that those responsible will be punished. “The reason for such a severe violation of our ethics is an issue that will be looked at, and those responsible punished,” said the official statement. The press service also apologized for “the technical error.”

Exaggerated scandal – Chaplin

Vsevolod Chaplin, the Church’s head spokesman, said the scandal was over inflated. “I do not care what watch he has; moreover, I do not remember what watch I have on my wrist, I would have to look. I am not interested in this side of life,” he told Slon.ru.

Presidential gift

Patriarch Kirill gave an interview to journalist Vladimir Solovyov recently, where he talked about a scandal concerning a Breguet watch seen on his wrist in Ukraine.

“When we donned the robes for the mass, it is impossible to put on the watch, to wear it. And I looked at that picture and realized that it was a collage. Yes, I wear a watch. It was given to me as a present by Dmitry Anatolyevich [Medvedev]. It is ours, Russian, an inexpensive watch with a coat of arms – small and neat.”

However, bloggers noticed that the watch photoshopped out of the pictures did not resemble the description of the president’s gift.

They also argue that it could simply be anti-vampire watch that is only visible as a reflection, but invisible itself.

Since the scandal broke, all the images of the patriarch with the watch have been returned to the website.

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