Some vaccine concerns are valid, some are not—ROCOR Bishop Luke of Jordanville

Jordanville, New York, January 28, 2021


His Grace Bishop Luke of Jordanville of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia issued a statement concerning COVID-19 vaccines yesterday in response to the inquiries of the faithful.

Having consulted with “trusted Orthodox medical advisors,” it was concluded that “some of the concerns lack foundation in fact while others are legitimate,” Bp Luke writes in the statement published on Orthodox Life.

According to His Grace, concerns about the lack of long-term trials and the use of aborted fetal cells in research are valid and especially noteworthy.

However, “While some conventional vaccines apparently utilize these cell lines in production, the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines do not,” Bp. Luke writes, thus the most important point is that “a complete analysis of side-effects is not available, and thus, many are legitimately concerned about this.”

However, according to Nebraska Medicine and many other medical sources, while the COVID vaccines do not contain aborted fetal cells, “Pfizer and Moderna did perform confirmation tests (to ensure the vaccines work) using fetal cell lines,” which is also a concern for many Orthodox Christians.

Also see the detailed list of vaccines at the Charlotte Lozier Institute that shows that HEK-293 (human embryonic kidney) cells were used in confirmatory lab tests for the production of both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

Conversely, Bp. Luke writes, the concern that the mRNA vaccine rewrites DNA “seems excessive,” as, according to published articles, the mRNA does not enter the nucleus, but simply elicits protein production.

In the end, the new COVID vaccines are not perfect, but the decision whether to receive it or not is spiritually on par with other personal medical decisions, His Grace writes. The Orthodox faithful are not forbidden, nor do they need to seek a blessing to receive the vaccine.

Bp. Luke concludes: “Each should seek wisdom and discernment after soberly having their concerns addressed, realizing also that there are other possible therapies to treat this disease that have not received as much attention and are not under consideration here. Regardless of the personal decision regarding the vaccine, all should seek the loving therapy and hope of our Holy Church.”

His Eminence Metropolitan Luke of Zaporozhye of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church made a similar statement recently, noting that we do not know enough about the possible side effects of the vaccine, but the fear of mutated DNA seems “rather fantastic.”

Conversely, His Eminence Metropolitan Seraphim of Kythira of the Church of Greece and His Eminence Metropolitan Neophytos of Morphou of the Church of Cyprus have both expressed concern about the possibility of altered DNA.

Elder Parthenius, the abbot of St. Paul’s Monastery on Mt. Athos, also recently stated that he does not bless anyone to receive the vaccine, because, while it is not the same thing, it is too similar to what is described in Revelation 13. He also notes that the companies that produce the vaccines are exempt from any liability.

The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America issued a statement last week, encouraging all to consult their physicians about whether or not to be vaccinated.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Vkontakte, Telegram, WhatsApp, Parler, MeWe, and Gab!


FrDmitry Wieber5/22/2021 11:46 pm
This isn't Vladyka Luke's statement, but, rather a redaction, plus article, plus commentaries. Sorry, it clarifies very little.
Anne4/18/2021 7:20 pm
I was doing my once weekly food shop for the family last week and I asked the lady at the till if she had had a nice week off. She said “no” because her leg went very red and started swelling up. She went to the hospital where a blood clot was diagnosed. I asked her if she had the vaccine - “yes, the Astra Zeneca four days before” she replied. “Do you have a history of blood clots?” I asked. “Never had one before” she replied. “You’re not intending to have the second inoculation, I hope?” Her reply sent shivers down my spine. “Yes, because I would rather have blood clots than Covid.” The power of propaganda. Blood clots are life threatening! 99.9% of people recover from Covid 19. The average age of death is 85. And yet even with these facts, people are terrified. Governments and media have blood on their hands.
Pavvy2/20/2021 11:16 am
Didnt expect any less from the church leaders. Comfortable in their current positions they do not want to rock the boat. Basically itsa gene splicing witches brew developed by an international team of Satanists. But go ahead take the first vaccine of many that will never end as a pre cursor to the mark . Will the dna altered be the part that connects you to our father ? Are they looking to mute the God gene? So many unanswered questions and a serious lack of leadership
cathy2/10/2021 7:37 pm
Dionysius you are wrong. Look up the down testimony of the founder of the rubella vaccine Dr Stanley where he confirms they are aborted fetuses and that countless aborted fetuses are used in the development, testing, and even IN the vaccines. This is a known fact.
Anne2/9/2021 2:07 pm
Karolos is right.
Dewey Jones 2/6/2021 5:41 am
It seems to me we are too eager to ease our conscience when it come to abortion, because we unconciously lose sight of the value of the human person. We discriminate against the Unborn based on age and developement, and we forget the horror of what is happening. If this were an adult, a beloved friend, a priest, a saint who was tortured and dismembered for medical progress, we would be revolted. A single human soul is worth more to God than the rest of Creation--"many sparrows". Nevertheless I know Orthodox Christians who run to obtain the vaccine, believing they are saving lives in the process. This is blindness.
Mikhail2/4/2021 5:58 pm
Michael, If you were the one contemplating buying the house, and you knew that it was purchased and built with blood many, then you should definitely not buy it...or live in it. 60 million + pre-born babies have been murdered in the womb. It will be a cold day in hell when I decide that I'm going to use one of those lives to benefit myself. I feel sad for all the Hierarchs who are deceiving the faithful by teaching them that the vaccination is no big deal.
Michael2/2/2021 5:29 pm
Veronica, we have saints who were doctors practicing modern medicine. For example, Saint Luke of Crimea, who was a surgeon in the 20th century. In fact, he also published academic articles in medical journals about new surgical procedures. And that's just one example. To say that "modern medicine leaves a lot of death and destruction in its wake" because of medical errors is like saying that "modern automobiles leave a lot of death and destruction in their wake" because of car accidents. In the United States alone, 30-40 thousand people die every year in car crashes. For example, in 2019, 38,800 people died that way. And yet, I assume you're not suggesting that we don't need cars. How about electricity? Many people died from being electrocuted, too, and then there are houses that burn down due to electrical fires. And so on. Accidents happen. Accidents are not murder. Murder is murder - like abortion, or intentionally using your car to hit someone on purpose. We should not turn our stance against the murder of the unborn into some kind of general suspicion of modern medicine. That would be like seeing someone who intentionally uses his car to kill people, and becoming suspicious of cars.
Herman1/31/2021 12:18 am
Let's gets some facts straight here. Listen to this interview with Pamela Acker, a vaccine expert and biologist. Acker speaks about her research into the HEK-293 cell line specifically, and talks about the number that’s at the end of that cell line name. “HEK” stands for Human Embryonic Kidney and the “293” actually reveals the number of experiments that a specific researcher did to develop that cell line. “It doesn’t mean there were two hundred and ninety-three abortions, but for two hundred and ninety-three experiments, you would certainly need far more than one abortion. We’re talking probably hundreds of abortions,” Acker shares. Acker dispels the myth that these cell lines are created using spontaneous abortions, simply by understanding that these cells have to be gathered within five minutes of the abortion. A miscarriage would simply not provide cells that were alive enough for researchers to be able to use the cells. This is where things get very disturbing, because in most cases it’s not a “simple abortion,” but rather, Acker says: “They will actually deliver these babies via cesarean section. The babies are still alive when the researchers start extracting the tissue; to the point where their heart is still beating, and they’re generally not given any anesthetic, because that would disrupt the cells that the researchers are trying to extract." So, they’re removing this tissue, all the while the baby is alive and in extreme amounts of pain. So, this makes it even more sadistic.” -
Karolos1/30/2021 11:05 pm
Veronica1/30/2021 2:07 am
There is a lot of degrees of separation between us and Adam and we are still feeling the effects today. Modern medicine leaves a lot of death and destruction in its wake. Those are the fruits I see from it, and I really want no part in it. Look up the number of people that die every year from medical errors. You want to trust man over God? Personally I will only look to Christ for my salvation because that is the only place it comes from. Can you say that those who develop these medicines walk with God?
Michael1/29/2021 4:35 pm
If we should refrain from using any medical drugs or procedures that were at some point *tested* using immoral methods - even when they are not *produced* using immoral methods and do not contain anything objectionable - then that would have far-reaching implications beyond just vaccines. Many things were tested immorally on human subjects at some point in the past, and we do not regard those things as morally "tainted" by the tests. After all, we cannot change the past. If a life-saving medicine was tested immorally, but then the tests stopped, should we forever refuse that medicine even if there is no longer anything immoral about it now, simply because of its association with immorality in the past? This seems to me like saying that if someone committed murder in order to obtain a plot of land to build a house, that house should be left empty and no one should ever live there again. Because it is "tainted" by the murder committed in its construction. Actually, that example is too strong, because in that case the murderer himself built the house. But in the case of using fetal cells to test a vaccine, the testing is not carried out by the murderer but rather by someone else who benefits from the murder without having committed it (so there is an extra degree of separation between the murder and the final result). Therefore, a better analogy with a house instead of a vaccine would go like this: John Smith is walking through the woods one day, and comes across a dead body. Instead of calling the police as he should, John decides to search the dead man for anything of value. He finds a small pouch full of diamonds, and decides to hide the body (although he did not commit the murder). He takes the diamonds, sells them, and uses the money to build himself a nice house. Later, he is trying to sell that house to you. Would it be forbidden for you to buy the house and live in it? Well... maybe? I honestly don't know. But it's certainly NOT an open-and-shut case. So I agree with Bishop Luke and disagree with Herman and Mikhail. The connection between the murder and the final result (the house or the vaccine) is far too distant for us to say that the final result is "tainted" by the murder in some way. We are talking about the issue of using an object that was made by someone who benefited from a murder committed by someone else. That is a lot of degrees of separation. Using such an object may be forbidden on a case-by-case basis, but that is for the bishops to decide.
Sandor1/29/2021 1:49 pm
What seems to be getting overlooked almost completely are the fact that adults do not receive vaccinations, as we have fully-developed immune systems, created by God to work again naturally-occurring pathogens. Note the failures of the various efforts against SARS, H1N1, and the 'yearly flu shot'. These presumed medications have caused far more harm than help. If there really is a *new* illness called COVID-19 (which acronym is said to mean one thing, but could equally represent "COVert ID - 19"), we should allow the natural workings of our God-given immune systems to fight the contagion. There is no real evidence of a 'pandemic'. Yes, people have gotten ill, and some have gone to sleep, but no more than falls within the usual expected rates of decease of humans. It should be said, this 'vaccination' regime certainly would seem an easy (and fiendish) way to inject everyone with something unknown and basically untested. I am no priest nor theologian, but it certainly seems sinful to me to allow something like this to be done to us without the exercise of our God-given gift of discernment. We cannot all tae on a medical education, to be certain; however, we need to see things as they truly are, and not through the lenses of the fear-crazed media. This 'pandemic' sure has sold newspapers, in a slow-news season! In other words, the entire COVID saga from start to finish seem very fishy to me. I haven't so much as heard a person cough on the streets since January of 2020, and I have visited several countries for extended periods from then until now. On the contrary, I've seen a lot of ambulances remaining parked in their same locations week after week. Maybe people are taking their deathly-ill loved ones to hospital in their personal cars. May God have mercy. May God grant us twice the faith we now have, bless us, and save us all from the evil one.
Dimitri1/29/2021 2:31 am
Herman, you bring up very valid points. A wide-ranging theological discussion does need to be had regarding all of these very legitimate concerns. At this late date, it is not acceptable just to go along with a Bishop's directive without ALL of the hypothetical scenarios being fleshed-out.
Dionysius Redington1/29/2021 2:28 am
I am not sure that it makes any difference morally, but it is not quite accurate to say that the methods of production involved the abortion of 'countless' babies. HEK-293 cells are descended from a single foetus. There is disagreement in the literature about whether the foetus was aborted or miscarried.
sherlock_holmes1/28/2021 8:57 pm
Motto:" A tree is recognized by its fruit !" My opinion is that we should listen to the people with holy life ( not only names ) in our Church, the people in communion with Jesus Christ our Lord. Even the doctors, do they fully know the composition of these vaccines, if they have or not added functions not related to Covid-19 but other experiments ? Don't we see that there is no debate ( even among doctors or scientists allowed ),a lot of terrible repercussions for those who dare not to get vaccinated...what kind of fruits are these ?
Herman1/28/2021 8:18 pm
Forgive me for my criticism of this statement - I have the utmost respect and love for Bishop Luke. However, statements like this leave us with more questions than answers. We all know - these various vaccines are developed from/produced with/tested on aborted fetal cells. So is it OK now for Orthodox Christians to use a drug that was tested on the remains of a murdered human being? Is it OK to get the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, but NOT the AstraZeneca, Johnson&Johnson, and Sputnik V - all three of which DO in fact contain aborted fetal cells? How can an Orthodox Christian receive these drugs, and simultaneously hold an anti-abortion stance? By using a drug like this, isn't a person giving consent to the methods of production (the abortion of countless babies) of the drug? Can we have a theological discussion about this? Also I would like to mention - "according to published articles" the mRNA does not enter the nucleus, but the truth is, that no one really knows yet if it does or not. We don't know what these drugs are going to do (and apparently neither do the pharmaceutical companies, who have have asked for and received exemptions from liability by world governments). Already, we have reports of hundreds of people around the world dying shortly after receiving one of these new and experimental vaccines. As Christians, we are supposed to have respect for our bodies - so why is it OK to inject experimental drugs into our systems that were produced using such barbaric and immoral methods? Especially when the governments of the world are making moves to enact severe restrictions against anyone who chooses NOT to get the vaccines? Already, this is not simply a medical matter, to be decided by an individual in consultation with his physician - but a legal and social matter. If some government decides to mandate proof of vaccination certificates for church attendance, for instance, will the bishops give us a blessing to disobey this "health directive" and attend services without it? Or will we be told, once again, that this is merely a temporary measure that is necessary in order to get us all back to normal?
Mikhail1/28/2021 6:49 pm
The information regarding the HEK-293 embryonic kidney cells were used in confirmatory lab tests for the production of both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccineshas has been common knowledge for quite some time. Perhaps Bishop Luke needs new medical advisors? He needs to retract his statement that it is not forbidden to receive the vaccine. Most people are looking up to ROCOR in this time of COVID as the only viable jurisdiction in which the people can depend on. It is a very dangerous road for him to declare that aborted fetal tissue cells are not an issue. Lord have mercy!
Here you can leave your comment on the present article, not exceeding 4000 characters. All comments will be read by the editors of OrthoChristian.Com.
Enter through FaceBook
Your name:
Your e-mail:
Enter the digits, seen on picture:

Characters remaining: 4000

to our mailing list

* indicates required