A Russian Orthodox bishop in Oryol faces some awkward questions this week, after accepting as a gift a new Land Cruiser worth an estimated 6 million rubles ($106,500), according to the website Open Russia.
A representative for the Oryol archdiocese later explained that there is nothing sinful about receiving such a gift. “Jesus Christ Himself wore expensive clothes gifted to him, shall we say, by people who celebrated Him.”
According to Open Russia, the vehicle in question also has special government license plates, though it came from a local agribusiness, which gave the car to Bishop Nektary (Nikolai Seleznev) to thank him for visiting “the most remote villages at any time of the year in any kind of weather,” the archdiocese says.
In 2012, Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill called on clergy members to refuse luxurious cars, saying they discredit the church. In situations where “sponsors” offer to donate or gift such vehicles, Kirill said priests should “think it over 20 times” before accepting.