Athos is prohibited: how will the church conflict affect the flow of tourists to Greece?
The conflict between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Patriarchate of Constantinople has spread to tourism. As Interfax reported on October 16, representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church drew the attention of tourists to the importance of observing the decisions of the Synod, which completely severed its communication with the Patriarchate of Constantinople.
Russian believers are now forbidden to visit all the temples belonging to Constantinople jurisdiction. Among them are the monasteries of Athos in Greece, considered to be one of the largest centers of attraction for Orthodox pilgrims. In addition, the ban is expanded on the churches of Crete, Rhodes, Istanbul and Orthodox Church in Antalya. First of all, the decision of the Russian Orthodox Church will affect those, who traveling with pilgrim goals. But it is possible that ordinary tourists will correct their plans.
Experts are already predicting a reorientation of Orthodox tourist traffic to other abroad directions. In the commentary the religious scholar Roman Silantyev listed them: "This is the Holy Land, Cyprus, other territories of Greece, which are not included in the Patriarchate of Constantinople." In other countries, a specialist advises believers to find out which patriarchate an Orthodox Church or monastery is submitted. Roman Silantyev has no doubt that the church conflict will last for a long time: “Unfortunately, reconciliation is hardly possible. In political terms, it's a church war. The Russian Orthodox Church was unable to react differently to the actions of the Constantinople Patriarchate, because we are talking about the rejection of part of its territory in Ukraine.”
Yury Mishchenko, graduated from Moscow Institute of Foreign Languages, has more than 15 years experience in tourism and travel. Working both in tour operator company as destination manager, and in travel agency as sales manager, he is focused on analysis of Russian tour operators’ daily routine. Recently, Yury works in Baginet Marketing and Sales Agency.