Question of vaccination is outside realm of theology, consult your physicians—Antiochian Patriarchate

Damascus, February 9, 2021

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The Patriarchate of Antioch issued a statement on COVID-19 vaccines yesterday, telling its flock that the question of whether to be vaccinated is outside the realm of theology, and thus ultimately a personal question to be worked out in consultation with one’s physician.

The Church also calls upon all to face the present situation with sincere repentance and prayer, working to remain united with all in the Church, regardless of differing views on the vaccine.

The statement, published on the Antiochian Patriarchate’s official Facebook page, is divided into seven points:

  1. “The Church encourages scientific research and scientists, and blesses every proper initiative that contributes to the progress of humanity and relieves human suffering.” Therefore, the Church prays for all involved in developing a vaccine, all healthcare workers, and all the sick, departed, and bereaved.

  2. Having reviewed various medical reports and having consulted with specialists, “the Church considers that the matter of vaccination is not the specialty of the field of theological and spiritual studies, but rather specific to the field of medical sciences and its authorities.” Thus, the decision whether to receive the vaccine is a personal one.

  3. As the vaccine is a not a cure, the Patriarchate emphasizes the need to continue to adhere to all health measures, whether before or after the vaccination. The statement also notes the record time in which the vaccine was developed.

  4. “The Church warns against any political or commercial exploitation of the issue of vaccines, especially against withholding them from marginalized groups and distributing them in a way that contradicts the principles of equality, justice, and solidarity among all people.”

  5. While there are various opinions about the pandemic and vaccine, “The Church confirms that all these people, regardless of their different opinions and various positions, remain her children. She invites them to preserve the bond of peace, unity, and love that brings us together in Christ.”

  6. We must deal with our distance from God and man through sincere repentance and “returning to God in prayer and a life of communion and service.” We must be grateful to God and ignite our hope through reading the Holy Scriptures, the lives of the saints, and their teachings, so that the Divine graces of love, courage, and genuine solidarity with our fellow man would be poured out upon us.

  7. The joy that Christ is ever with us places us on the same path as the great Fathers and strengthens us in the face of evil, and makes us able to overcome all challenges by the grace of God.

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Nicole4/17/2021 6:21 pm
God in His infinite love for us has given us an ethical and elegant solution to COVID which the evil one has blinded many from hearing about. Christ healed both physically and spiritually, healing flowed from him on the planet, so this is no surprise. The evil one has sown fear and division and censorship of God Himself in the Temple and of His elegant solution to COVID in the MSM and the Church. Altruistic caring physicians and researchers worldwide have written about these solutions beginning over a year ago but have been censored by most. Please see the protocols for early prevention and early treatment of COVID at in their handbook and link to protocols and treatment. No one I know who has used the protocols has needed to be hospitalized and there are no significant side effects, in contrast to the great potential for harm from the novel vaccines both imminently and in the future. Please no more unnecessary long-term illness and death for the vulnerable who get COVID and no more irrational fear of others when Christ has provided a safe, inexpensive remedy. Lord help the Orthodox clergy at least to see and know how they can be healing like Christ for their flock both physically and spiritually. As I understand it, Christ wants us to bear our sufferings without complaint but to alleviate the suffering of others when we can. Omitting this life-saving information is a form of cruelty I cannot understand.
Gary Cox3/26/2021 7:40 am
The murdered baby (aborted ) issue is a major concern. It gets complicated. Some vaccines use cloned cells from an aborted baby from the 1970's in their production and some do not. However I think all use the cloned cells from a murdered baby for the testing of the vaccine to know it's effectiveness. Also food companies use cloned cells from a murdered baby to test their food flavorings and to test everyday things like bandages ( Bandaids ) to test for skin sensitivity. Evidently more expensive to pay live humans to test so they use murdered baby cells. Do we quit buying food from the stores and grow all our food. I have to admit I have considered it but it's not practical. A point brought out to me is that the babies cells that are cloned and used came from a murdered baby but that the baby was not murdered for the purpose of harvesting body parts. If someone is murdered do we have a problem with transplanting their heart, liver , kidneys ? The person was murdered but was not murdered for the purpose of obtaining organs. What do we do? I think we follow the leadership of the Bishops. This is a difficult situation that Christians are in.
Gary Cox2/17/2021 7:01 am
I admit I personally know absolutely nothing for sure about the vaccines. Some " experts" say they are from murdered babies and some "experts" say they are not. Some " experts " say they are safe and effective and other " experts " say they are not. I doubt any of us know for sure. We didn't do the research ourselves. I know for myself that I don't have the wherewithal to check it out personally. Let's not condemn our ordained leadership for something we can't honesty check out. Let our Bishops and Patriarchs make decisions that they have the authority to make.please!
Koutsoumboure2/13/2021 9:22 pm
Ιωάννης Δ - Μπράβο βρε μάγκα!
John D.2/11/2021 8:48 pm
"the usage of aborted fetal cells in production of vaccinations is ETHICALLY UNACCEPTABLE" Once you get the vaccine this makes you an accessory to the fact, thus you are guilty in the committal the crime, the "murder" of the Child, as many, many Church Fathers teach. Period. 'Live not by lies' Orthodox Christians or stop calling yourself such, you darken and besmirch true Orthodoxy. Doxa to Theo, John
Anne2/10/2021 7:44 pm
Herman - well said. Very well put indeed.
Anon_guy2/10/2021 7:18 am
The vaccines, at least most of them, are mRNA based. They may not directly edit your DNA / genes, but they de-facto change the entire way your body works by basically hi-jacking it. We know that religiosity is at least 50% genetic, and we know that the powers-that-be have been trying to stamp out religion, especially Christianity, for a long time. Why would we assume that the ruling elite aren't planning on using this new type of mRNA vaccine in order to try to over-write the genetics that contribute to feelings of religious sentiment, in order to further their atheist / secular agenda? I'm not one of those anti-GMO people, I eat whatever types of vegetables and fruits are sold in stores. However, there's a HUGE difference between genetically modifying lemons and tomatoes to be bigger or jucier, and actually genetically modifying Human beings. Yes, it is theoretically possible to inject someone with mRNA that would neutralize religious feelings and develop an entire population incapable of gnosis / theosis. This type of thing concerns everyone, whether Christian, Muslim, pagan, Buddhist, etc. Our religiosity is what really separates man from ape.
Dimitri2/10/2021 5:42 am
"It's later than you think, so love God above all". - Hieromonk Seraphim Rose
Matthew2/10/2021 3:19 am
Are vaccines outside the realm of morals as well as of theology? Obviously not, since the patriarchate has seen fit to comment on the distribution of vaccines, based on notions of solidarity and other watch-words. So why not mention of the use of foetal cells? It seems a stark omission.
Herman2/9/2021 8:37 pm
Reading these sorts of pronouncements always leaves me with a feeling of depression and frustration. This statement is not Orthodox, at all, and is maddening in its vague pseudo-political wording and crucial omissions. (1) Not a theological matter? Is abortion a theological matter? The vaccine industry has grown up side by side with the abortion industry over the last 50 years. But there is not a single mention of the fact that these vaccines have been tested on, developed in, and produced with aborted fetal cells. This is an ethical and therefore a theological issue! The Russian Church put out a statement not long ago saying that the usage of aborted fetal cells in production of vaccinations is ETHICALLY UNACCEPTABLE (despite this, the leading Russian hierarchs continue to encourage their people to get the shot...). Obviously they disagree with Antioch that this is not in fact a theological issue - in fact, this is the realm of bioethics, and the Church has a duty to speak out about these questions. These vaccines are in existence due to the barbaric abortion of hundreds of children. Of course this is a theological matter and everyone knows it. To claim otherwise is making a mockery of our Faith. (2) This statement praises the speed in which these various drugs were produced, assuming this is a good thing, when in fact, this is in itself a major concern for Orthodox Christians. These vaccines bypassed normal testing, and still have not been approved for general use (only for "emergency use"). Why should we trust these pharmaceutical companies, who have a long and sad record of placing profits over safety? (3) What exactly is being said in point 5 of the statement? Could this have been any more vague? Is this a condescending remark about "conspiracy theorists" and "anti-vaxxers"? (4) Point 6 says - "There is no doubt that all preventive health measures and vaccinations are beneficial to our physical safety." What??? How did they come to this conclusion? Is this a fact or their opinion? In fact, there is a LOT of doubt, coming from a LOT of people. Does the Antiochian Patriarchate need me to forward them some of the numerous reports worldwide of people becoming violently ill or dying after receiving one of these new, experimental vaccines? The Church doesn't even ask me to have blind faith in God Himself, but now, they are asking me to have blind faith in some shady multi-national pharmaceutical company and the WHO. Do they have a track record of impeccable safety and honesty? If so, why seek liability from damages, forcing the taxpayers to cover the costs? Not only that, I'm being told to have blind faith in my physician. The most that the majority of physicians know about these vaccines is what the pharmaceutical companies tell them, and in many cases, they're too busy writing endless prescriptions for OxyContin to do the appropriate research. (5) In point 4 we are told the Church "warns against political or commercial exploitation of this issue" but then fails to defend the rights of believers from exploitation. The Church apparently doesn't feel that it is necessary to warn us about the fact that the international system is making bold and unprecedented moves to strip us of freedom of movement and restrict our access to social programs, school, and employment by the introduction of "COVID immunity passports". Obviously not, since the Church considers all of these measures to be "beneficial". This statement has no basis in reality and is extremely discouraging, and shows that the hierarchy of our Church is more content to make politically-correct pronouncements from the ivory tower rather than honestly address the very real concerns of Orthodox believers worldwide.
Mikhail2/9/2021 5:51 pm
Not one word regarding the use of aborted fetal tissue cells in the pre-trials of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines? Really? This is outrageous. It seems that almost every hierarch is failing us simultaneously!
Michael P2/9/2021 2:05 pm
The third point is a bit troubling. The authorities will never allow this exaggerated threat to end. The vaccine was our great hope, now they say it virtually doesn't matter. Well, I've had covid-19, science says I am immune with only a .03% chance of being reinfected, so I'm done with masks and all "health measures" in church.
Anne2/9/2021 2:03 pm
These vaccines have been developed outside of the usual 10 year trial time; therefore, they remain in the experimental stage. A fact. The mRNA ‘vaccine’ is new generation only ever before used in cancer treatment. No one knows what the long term effects of this DNA altering agent will do. Previous studies on animals revealed that after being injected,; when later they were exposed to a ‘live’ SARS Cov virus - they died.
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