Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia (Vladimir Gundyaev) fell during the consecration of a church in Novorossiysk. The recording of the service was deleted from the Soyuz TV channel, but it was distributed through Telegram feeds.
Gundyaev slipped on the marble floor during the liturgy, whereafter other priests and guards helped him up.
Protodeacon Andrei Kuraev says coronavirus restrictions, because of which no one is allowed to touch the patriarch, are to blame.
«An unpleasant mishap occurred today at the consecration of the temple in Novorossiysk. After the end of the consecration of the temple, Patriarch Kirill fell as he was leaving the pulpit, slipping on the expensive marble floor. Neither the security guards, nor the protocol service, nor the bishops standing nearby were able to help him. The patriarch bruised his back against an edge of the pulpit. The liturgy continued. Metropolitan Gregory and the local bishop Feognost looked at the patriarch guiltily and waited for a reaction. But they blame the coronavirus restrictions, because of which ono one is allowed to touch the patriarch or support him on the steps.»
Updated: Gundyaev later spoke out about his fall in the temple: «Just because I fell today doesn't mean anything. It's just that the floor is beautiful, you can look at it, it's so shiny and smooth. But when water falls on it, even holy water, the laws of physics come into play. I fell so unluckily on that beautiful floor. But by the grace of God, without any consequences. But you will all remember this day, of course, as I will remember it, but with joy and gratitude to all of you, for this temple was built with your labors,» the RIA Novosti news agency quoted him as saying.
On June 16, the British authorities put Gundyaev on a sanctions list. He is banned from entering the UK; the sanctions also mean freezing of assets and restrictions on doing business with organizations that are associated with people on the «black list».
Earlier, Pope Francis said that Patriarch Kirill during a video call read him from a piece of paper for twenty minutes and gave arguments justifying the war of Russia against Ukraine. Later, the Russian Orthodox Church published Gundyaev's speech, in which he spoke about «missile flying time» and NATO expansion while addressing the Pope.
In April, 190 priests of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) of the Moscow Patriarchate demanded that Patriarch Kirill be put under an ecclesiastical tribunal (the church tribunal in question is the Council of Primate of the Ancient Eastern Churches). Ukrainian priests decided to sue because of Patriarch Kirill's support for Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine. Among the charges brought against him are the preaching the doctrine of «Russian peace,» which does not correspond to Orthodox teaching, and «moral crimes»: blessing the war against Ukraine and fully supporting it.