In Nicosia, a Russian oligarch was prayed for unsuccessfully

Boris Demash

The page of the Russian Cultural Center in Nicosia has a post saying:

«On Saturday, June 15, 2024, a divine service in Church Slavonic took place at the Jerusalem Patriarchate’s representation, located in the center of Nicosia.

The morning service and Divine Liturgy were celebrated by Archpriest Pavel, representative of the Russian Orthodox Church in Cyprus, rector of St. Nicholas Russian-speaking parish, the newly consecrated St. Nicholas Church in Limassol.

The service was held at the invitation of the Exarch of the Holy Sepulchre in Cyprus, Metropolitan Timothy. After the service, Metropolitan Timofey met with the parishioners. During the conversation, he spoke about the history of the exarchate and the construction of the churchyard in Cyprus. His Eminence emphasized the role of the Russian philanthropist, whose efforts and diligence made the construction of the exarchate possible.»

The message also states that from now on, services for Russian compatriots in the church under Timofey’s jurisdiction will be held regularly on the second and fourth Saturdays of each month.

It follows that the rector of the Russian church in Limassol, a member of the Coordination Council of Russian Compatriots-CCRC created and financed by Moscow, and, according to numerous reports in the press, an employee of the Russian secret services, Pavel Povalyaev, was able to extend his professional activities to the church belonging to the Patriarchate of Jerusalem in Cyprus and thus created in the capital of the Republic of Cyprus an agent center of Russian intelligence under the cover of the church. During the church sermon on the salvation of the soul, it is very convenient and safe to instruct agents and meet with informants. Russian intelligence services have perfected this technique.

The place of regular church services for Russian compatriots was not chosen by chance. Although the page of the Russian Cultural Center does not say which «Russian philanthropist, whose efforts and diligence made possible the construction of the churchyard» was mentioned by the Exarch of the Holy Sepulchre in Cyprus, Metropolitan Timofey, it is known that he was talking about Igor Altushkin, who is under U.S. sanctions.

Igor Alexeyevich Altushkin is a Forbes-listed figure and founder of the Russian Copper Company.

According to The Moscow Times, Igor Altushkin fully sponsors the Ural Battalion, an assault unit of the Russian Defense Ministry that is taking part in Russia’s attack on Ukraine and fighting in the Lugansk region of Ukraine.

According to the publication, Altushkin created his battalion after a private meeting of businessmen with Vladimir Putin in September 2022, at which representatives of big business in Russia were invited to gather and finance volunteers to participate in the invasion of Ukraine.

Altushkin owns several Cyprus-registered companies. A few years ago he financed the restoration of the Jerusalem church in Nicosia. A commemorative plaque bearing his name was installed there.

Undoubtedly, Metropolitan Timofey knew for whom he offered his prayer to the Almighty. He also knew why Alushkin was on the sanctions list, but for some reason, he did not find it necessary to condemn him for it.

Metropolitan Timofey himself is not that pro-Russian, he has been Russian for a long time. His biography is inextricably linked to the USSR, Russia, the Russian Orthodox Church, and, consequently, to the Soviet and Russian security services.

Metropolitan Timofey, in the word Theodoros Margaritis, was born in 1951 in the Greek city of Patras. In 1967 he went to Jerusalem for studies, where he graduated from the seminary. During his ministry in the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, he had close contact with clerics and hierarchs of the entire world Orthodoxy who came on pilgrimage, including many members and leadership of the Russian Spiritual Mission in Jerusalem, which consisted entirely of officers and agents of the Soviet secret services. During one of the services in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre Timofey met Metropolitan Nicodim (Rotov), with whom in the following years he repeatedly communicated both in the Holy Land and on the territory of the USSR.

Nikodim (Rotov) was a staff member of the KGB of the USSR and at that time was in charge of the KGB church agent network in Israel. He recruited the young Greek priest.

In 1975 Timofey went to study in the communist USSR, where he first attended preparatory courses, and from September 1976 he entered the full-time department of the Leningrad Theological Academy, from which he graduated four years later with a degree of Candidate of Theology. In May 1980, he defended his dissertation in Russian.

In March 1978, Metropolitan Nicodim (Rotov) elevated him to the rank of archimandrite.

Every foreigner who came to the USSR to study, to work, or on a tourist trip became an object of recruitment by the Soviet security services. There were no exceptions. Judging by Timofey’s actions and statements, in his case the recruitment was successful.

In 1980 Timofey returned to Jerusalem and has been serving Russian interests ever since. He supports Russia’s policy and its war in Ukraine. Timofey is a frequent guest at the Russian Embassy, attending pro-Russian events and meeting with Russian officials.

After his defeat as head of the Jerusalem Patriarchate in 2001, he fell out of favor with the new Patriarch and lost his former influence in the Jerusalem Church.

During this difficult period, his old friends in Moscow came to his aid. They secured his appointment as the person responsible for the restoration of the exarchate (representation) of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem in Cyprus. The building of the exarchate needed restoration and the special services instructed the leadership of the Russian Orthodox Church to allocate some church-going oligarch to finance the restoration of the Nicosia suburb of the Jerusalem Patriarchate. Thus Altushkin became the «philanthropist» for whom Timofey prayed on June 15 in Nicosia.

Four days after that, on June 19, it became known that the EU planned to impose sanctions on Igor Altushkin as part of the 14th package of sanctions against Russia.

The prayer of the graduate of the Leningrad Theological Academy did not work. Perhaps the Almighty does not accept the prayers of those who have sold their souls to the Kremlin.

Another interesting fact, in January 2018, on the 40th anniversary of the death of Metropolitan Nicodim (Rotov), at the initiative of the Russian-speaking parish of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker in Limassol, led by a Russian secret service agent Pavel Povalyaev, the street where the church of the Russian community is located was named «the street of Metropolitan Nicodemus Rotov.»

Continuity, however.