A Russian Orthodox Church archbishop said he only indulged a State Duma deputy who landed on the premises of a famous monastery in a helicopter.
Leonid Slutsky, a the Liberal Democratic Party, arrived in his personal aircraft earlier this month for a meeting with Patriarch Kirill.
A cell phone video posted on YouTube last Friday shows the helicopter landing next to the ancient Cathedral of the Holy Trinity and St. Sergius Laura.
The archbishop of Arkhangelsk and Kholmogory, Daniil, who attended the talks, said in a statement that he "wouldn't like to fully justify Slutsky's actions" but viewed them as "an exception."
Slutsky apologized before the clergy and prayed to St. Sergius for forgiveness, Daniil said, adding that the incident might have been a publicity stunt ahead of the Duma vote in December. Kirill did not comment, while party leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky said Thursday that Slutsky would be reprimanded.