A Russian Orthodox priest has been removed from his post and sent to work in a remote village after his wife took part in a beauty contest, the state news agency RIA Novosti reported.
The secretary of the Magnitogorsk episcopate told RIA Novosti that the priest’s wife, Oksana Zotova, performed a Brazilian dance in carnival costume at a beauty pageant held during the Great Lent fasting season.
Photos of her appearance then spread on social media.
The priest, Sergiy Zotov, will be temporarily sent from his post in the southwestern city of Magnitogorsk to serve in Fershampenuaz village because the wife of a priest should not behave in this way, the secretary, Father Lev Baklitsky, told RIA Novosti.
“And we know Father Sergiy to be a good, good priest,” Baklitsky told the news agency.
There is no issue with priests and their wives going to the beach or the bathhouse, but putting these kinds of photos on social media is unnecessary, Baklitsky said, according to RIA Novosti.
The episcopate, Zotov and Zotova did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment.
Zotova’s entry form for the beauty pageant reveals that she is married with two children and owns a beauty salon.
The application, posted at the social media site of the pageant, “You are unique-2019. Magnitogorsk,” also features her response to the question: “How are you unique?”
“I see the good things in each person, I see their possibilities and their potential. I can certainly love, accept, forgive,” Zotova wrote, the online application shows. “I make goals for the future and always reach them. Life is beautiful – this is a fact, and this fact I adore!”
Zotov has since said he will file an official complaint to prosecutors over harassment his wife is facing online, according to RIA Novosti.
“I am preparing to file a complaint with the prosecutor’s office. There are many subtleties there. But since I have to go to the service, I can’t do everything as I planned,” he said.
Zotov said he contacted Russian internet watchdog Roskomnadzor after his wife received insulting messages online.
“It is an abnormal situation, when all personal information, information which discredits the name and authority, is published on these disgraceful websites. I believe that this is unacceptable. On my part, even if there is no effect, I, at least, did what I had to do. I just can’t leave it at that,” Zotov told RIA Novosti.
Zotov said he knew his wife was preparing for a beauty pageant and backed her decision to take part, according to the news agency.
He said he has been accepted by his new parishioners in Fershampenuaz, who already knew him, reports RIA Novosti.