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A Russian Orthodox priest says he will 'pay penance' after flaunting Gucci shoes and Louis Vuitton handbags on Instagram

INSIDER logoINSIDER 12/11/2018 Jacob Shamsian
a person posing for the camera © Vyacheslav Baskakov/Instagram

A Russian Orthodox priest has deleted his Instagram account and said he will "pay penance" after going viral for flaunting Prada and Louis Vuitton slippers and bags on his account.

"I am very ashamed and I bear full responsibility for this," the priest, Vyacheslav Baskakov, wrote in a statement translated by the Moscow Times. "I will pay penance and close Instagram, since I do not know how to behave modestly and adequately."

Baskakov's feed drew wide attention in Russia this month when he posted photos where he wore Gucci shoes, carried a Louis Vuitton handbag, and showed off other products from luxury brands. He was dubbed the "Gucci priest."

© Vyacheslav Baskakov/Instagram via Moscow Times a bag of luggage © Vyacheslav Baskako/Instagram vis The Telegraph

On Sunday, church leaders criticized Baskakov and said the Russian Orthodox Church would investigate him. Alexander Volkov, the spokesman for Vladimir Mikhailovich Gundyayev, the head of the Russian Orthodox church, told The Guardian that a disciplinary committee will "bring [him] to his senses."

"I hope this will bring this shepherd to account," Volkov said. "The life of a priest cannot be divided between the personal and public and no clergyman can act like a priest in a church from the morning until lunch and then be whoever he wants from lunch until evening."

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In his apology statement, Baskakov denied actually purchasing any of the luxury goods he posted, saying he took photos in shops. He said he sometimes sewed expensive-looking buckles and accessories on his shoes to make them look nicer.

"They're inexpensive shoes, but they look festive," he wrote.

Vladimir Mikhailovich Gundyayev, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, was himself caught in a similar scandal in 2012, according to The Guardian. He was widely criticized after a photo of him wearing a Breguet watch worth $30,000 circulated online. Church employees Photoshopped the watch out of the photo, but its reflection was still visible elsewhere in the picture.

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