In the morning of September 16 an officer of the Border Guard of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation in Moscow’s Vnukovo Airport denied entry to Russia to Archbishop Andrei of Pavlovskoye and Rockland, hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church (ROAC), without assigning any reasons. As reported to the correspondent of Portal-Credo.Ru in the Office of the Episcopal Synod of ROAC, Archbishop Andrei was going to visit Suzdal where ROAC’s spiritual and administrative center is located at the invitation from the Episcopal Synod and a number of congregations of the Church. He planned to conduct the service on September 21, the day of the Nativity of the Most Holy Mother of God, in the Synodal Church of the Iveron Mother of God in Suzdal and visit his congregation in the village of Pavlovskoye in the outskirts of Suzdal where the Church of St. John the Baptist was confiscated by the state from ROAC a few years ago.
Archbishop Andrei, US citizen and administrator of ROAC parishes in the US and some other countries, was a frequent visitor of the RF and had a three-year Russian multiple entry visa. He more than once criticized the Russian authorities for the persecution against ROAC (in particular, in connection with the confiscation of 16 churches in the town of Suzdal and its environs, as well as with the court case related to the confiscation of the relics of the Saints Euphymios and Euphrosynia of Suzdal) and condemned the invasion of the Russian troops in Ukraine from the moral point of view.
Portal-Credo.Ru correspondent found out that Archbishop Andrei’s name had been added by the Russian authorities to the reciprocal sanctions list of the US citizens barred from entry to the RF. No information is available in respect of the official publication of this list, nor of the reasons for the inclusion of specific persons in it. The hierarchs of ROAC intend to send an official letter to the Border Guard containing a request to state the reasons due to which Archbishop Andrei was mentioned in the reciprocal sanctions list.
In late 2013 Vladimirskiye Vedomosti and Suzdalskaya Nov newspapers published articles containing slanderous allegations against Archbishop Andrei. In these articles he was characterized as a "Russophobe connected with the US intelligence services". The allegations were challenged in court and after the litigation Suzdalskaya Nov published an article written in the Suzdal Diocesan Administration of ROAC that contained the denial of these allegations. Archbishop Andrei is widely known as a distinguished connoisseur of Russian culture, a talented pastor and an ascetic monk who expressly refrains from any political or laical activities.
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