Nicosia, Cyprus, June 11, 2021
The Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church of Greece is displeased with His Eminence Metropolitan Neophytos of Morphou of the Church of Cyprus over his public statements about the COVID pandemic and vaccines.
The Cypriot hierarch’s statements that sometimes criticize the decisions of the Holy Synod of the Greek Church and what he views as its mishandling of the COVID pandemic scandalize and seduce the Greek flock, the Greek hierarchs write in a letter to Archbishop Chrysostomos of Cyprus that was read out at the session of the Cypriot Holy Synod last week, reports Orthodoxia.info.
Met. Neophytos responded that out of respect for the Archbishop and the Synod, and because he does not wish to cause problems, he would refrain from making statements about the pandemic or vaccines for the time being.
Last August, His Eminence called on parents to homeschool rather than give in to COVID fears. He has also publicly denounced the COVID vaccine, and was the sole hierarch of the Cypriot Synod not to support a statement encouraging the faithful to be vaccinated.
The Greek Synod’s letter also specifically mentions that Met. Neophytos was among the hierarchs who criticized the Synod’s decision to celebrate Pascha several hours early to accommodate the state curfew.
The decision proved controversial within Greece as well, where a clergy association publicly protested the move, and several priests simply refused to obey the Synodal decision, and now face legal consequences for celebrating Pascha at midnight as usual. The Greek Synod has also launched an investigation against two of its own hierarchs who criticized the decision.
Met. Neophytos himself has run into legal trouble throughout the pandemic for continuing to celebrate the Divine services as normal.