The New York Times website reports today (April 6, 2012) that the Russian Orthodox Church has performed a miracle: It made an enormously expensive watch its leader was wearing disappear in a photograph.
Editors doctored the photograph on the church's website of the church leader, Patriarch Kirill I, by extending a black sleeve where there once appeared to be a Breguet timepiece worth over $30,000. The church might have gotten away with its "disappearing act," if it had not failed to also erase the watch's reflection, which could be seen in the photo on the highly glossed table where the patriarch was seated.
The church apologized yesterday for the deception, and restored the original photo to the site. The controversy -- which erupted on April 4 when attentive bloggers discovered the airbrushing -- further stoked anger over the Russian Orthodox Church's frequent lavish displays of wealth and power.
"A gross violation of our internal ethics has occurred, and it will be thoroughly investigated," the church said in a statement. It added, "The guilty will be severely punished."