The head of the Russian Orthodox Church owns a number of luxury watches worth anywhere from several hundred to several thousand dollars, the Open Media news website reported Thursday.
Patriarch Kirill sparked a massive scandal in 2012 when a photo on the Church’s website showed him with no watch on his wrist, but with a $30,000 Breguet watch reflected on the table where the patriarch was seated. Kirill initially denied wearing the watch in the 2009 photo, but the Church later admitted that it had been doctored and apologized.
In its latest report, Open Media published a photo of the patriarch wearing a diamond-encrusted Ulysse Nardin Dual Time watch worth $16,000 at a 2018 meeting with Russia’s Federation Council.
In another photo from November 2019, Patriarch Kirill appears to be wearing a Finnish Suunto sport watch worth 55,990 rubles ($886), Open Media reported.
The 2012 Breguet watch incident led to widespread criticism of Patriarch Kirill and the Church, with observers decrying what they said were the Church’s hypocrisy and lavish displays of wealth.
Following the scandal, Patriarch Kirill told pro-Kremlin talk show host Vladimir Solovyov that he only wears inexpensive Russian watches. He said that he received the Breguet as a gift, but had never worn it.
“I wear the watch that [then-President] Dmitry Medvedev has given to me. This is our Russian watch, an inexpensive watch with a coat of arms,” Solovyov quoted him as saying.