A Greek Orthodox priest decried Pope Francis as “a heretic” during the prelate’s visit to Athens on Saturday.
The priest shouted in Greek “Pope, you are a heretic” three times as the pope passed a building. Police led the priest away, but he fell to the ground during the incident, Reuters reported.
“Pope, you are a heretic”
Witnesses said he shouted loud enough for Pope Francis to hear the commotion, but Francis appeared not to notice as he entered the residence of Archbishop Ieronymos.
The pope and archbishop then called for cooperation between all Christians to protect the environment and care for migrants in remarks they made together.
“If the world community, the leaders of powerful states, and international organizations do not take bold decisions, the ever-threatening presence of vulnerable refugee women and children will continue to grow globally,” Ieronymos said. “Together we must shake the rocks and the walls against the intransigence of the powerful of the Earth.”
The Great Schism in 1054 split the Christian church into the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches.
Eastern and Western Christians had a history of differences and disagreements, some dating back to the earliest days of Christianity, and the root of what later became the Great Schism was not only theological but cultural as well.
Earlier, Pope Francis, who began a three-day visit to Greece on Saturday, spoke warmly about the hosting nation and its contributions to humanity at a ceremony held in the Presidential Mansion in Athens.
Addressing Greece’s President Katerina Sakellaropoulou, PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis, and leader of main opposition Alexis Tsipras, the Pope said that “without Athens and without Greece, Europe, and the world would not be what they are today – they would be less wise and less happy.”
Describing how one looks up and sees the Acropolis while approaching Athens, he likened it to the extension of humanity toward the divine.