Greek Prime Minister calls on Church to encourage vaccination from the pulpit

Ioannina, Greece, June 21, 2021

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Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis wants the hierarchs of the Orthodox Church of Greece to use their sermons to encourage the faithful to be vaccinated against the coronavirus.

During a visit to the city if Ioannina, the PM thanked Metropolitan Maximos of Ioannina for his contribution to the fight against the coronavirus and asked him to encourage the faithful from the pulpit to get vaccinated, reports Romfea.

“Please, Your Eminence, in your next homily, say that you want everyone to be vaccinated,” the PM pleaded.

“By speaking openly and clearly, you are protecting your flock, first of all our elderly fellow citizens. And all those who were not vaccinated during the first wave, now that they see that the vaccines are not only effective, but also completely safe, should hurry to do so,” Mitsotakis stressed.

In January, the Holy Synod of the Greek Church stated that the choice of vaccination is neither a theological nor ecclesiastical issue, but is free medical choice of each person in consultation with his doctor. The Synod is, however, upset with His Eminence Metropolitan Neophytos of Morphou of the Orthodox Church of Cyprus who has spoken out against COVID vaccines.

In April, the primate of the Greek Church, Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens, called on all to use their free choice to get vaccinated, calling it an act of love for God and neighbor.

In February, the Holy Synod of the Georgian Orthodox Church specifically declared that it would not take on the responsibility of promoting the vaccine.

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Jesse Dominick6/25/2021 3:52 pm
David, consider that the so-called "muckraking" is not the problem, but rather the fact that Orthodox bishops create muck.
Jesse Dominick 6/25/2021 3:36 pm
Panayiotis, there are several factors that must be taken into consideration here. You ask: “If the folks at Orthochristian will report news from Nova Scotia, Canada and Leros, Greece, why do you think it is that they will not touch the stories that I mentioned above?” But think about what you’re saying—we are a site that covers the entire Orthodox world. We’re not a site dedicated just to putting out only Russian news. The Russian Church has its own site for that. We cannot boast the staffing or funding of some other news sites, and therefore we have to narrow down our selection of news stories. For example, there is news about Met. Hilarion almost every day, he is a public figure, and we don’t write about everything he says. With this particular story, when you consider everything I wrote before about the distortions of the Orthodox Times article, and also that as head of the Department of External Church Relations, the question of vaccines has absolutely nothing to do with his competency, you realize the story is a non-story.

And it is a matter of the public record that the Orthodox Times received $100,000 from the US State Dept:
David6/24/2021 7:03 am
Orthodox Times and Union of Orthodox Journalists are pushing an ideological narrative. Even though I am "Greek", I still enjoy reading the edifying articles on this website, and cringe when a UOJ article is reposted (their photoshops of Patriarch Bartholomew looking like Emperor Palpatine or a Bond Villain are ridiculous and a bit over the top, to put it charitably). Tabloid "journalism" is just that, no matter where it is coming from. I wish orthochristian would follow St. Elizabeth's Convent's ("Catalog of Good Deeds", Belarus) lead and focus on spiritually edifying material, leaving the muckraking where it belongs.
Panayotis6/24/2021 6:00 am
Let’s start all over, Jason. Herman and Jesse agree below that the official position of the ROC is that “these vaccines are UNETHICAL” (their all caps). Now consider that 1) Patriarch Kirill was (voluntarily) vaccinated, 2) TASS reports that “Russian Orthodox Church sends 2,000 doses of Sputnik V vaccine to Moldova”, 3) Moscow authorities launched last week the world’s most extensive compulsory Covid-19 vaccination program, 4) a permanent member of the holy synod, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, has called those who do not wish to vaccinated “stupid” while the rest of the synod has voiced no objection to these comments. If the folks at Orthochristian will report news from Nova Scotia, Canada and Leros, Greece, why do you think it is that they will not touch the stories that I mentioned above?
Jason6/23/2021 10:20 pm
Wish that were the case, Panayotis.
Panayotis6/23/2021 9:55 pm
The CIA has absolutely nothing to do with the Orthodox Times my friend.
Herman6/23/2021 5:05 pm
Jesse: maybe if Orthochristian could write that article comparing Met. Hilarion's (and Met. Tikhon's, and Patriarch Kirill's, etc.) pro-vaccine stance to what's written in the Social Concept of the Russian Church that would be helpful. Met. Hilarion is calling those who don't want this experimental drug injected into them "stupid" and "irresponsible" and calls the priests who speak against the vaccine irresponsible as well. But you know that most Russians don't want the vaccine, and most Orthodox Russians have moral issues with it, because it violates the official position of the Church... so why is it that the most visible and public bishop of the ROC is calling those faithful that adhere to the official Synodal position of the Church to be stupid and irresponsible? Is he expressing merely his own opinion, or do his comments reflect the unwritten "official" position of the Church and/or Kremlin? It's a valid question.
Jason6/23/2021 11:23 am
Panayotis: Yes, it's sad that people resort to the CIA-supported Orthodox Times to get news about Russia, when is based in Russia and sees what's actually going on there. And it's sad that a Greek doesn't care to think about this fact, but swallows the CIA propaganda hook, line, and sinker.
Jesse Dominick6/23/2021 9:50 am
Herman, let's consider this more carefully. 1. The question put to Met. Hilarion was specifically about the measures in Moscow and the Moscow Oblast. That's not the Kremlin. 2. Perhaps the Kremlin will come out with nationwide measures, but that's not the reality now and it's not what Met. Hilarion is responding to. Four regions is really but a small fraction of Russia. But of course, Orthodox Times knows that mentioning the Kremlin is effective, but mentioning Sobyanin isn't quite so much. Note that TASS makes no attempt to tie this to the Kremlin, as Orthodox Times does. So your example of TASS only supports what I'm saying. 3. I didn't say Orthodox Times reported his words incorrectly, but they are dishonest when they say THE RUSSIAN CHURCH has changed its mind. Met. Hilarion speaks for himself in the given interview. He makes no claim to be speaking for the Russian Church in the given question. Moreover, as I said, the Synod has not taken a stance on mandatory COVID vaccines, as Met. Hilarion himself has acknowledged. 4. You said: "He is contradicting the official position of the Church, which is that these vaccines are UNETHICAL because they were created using HEK-293 cells!" Yes, but that's not the issue we're talking about here. We're talking about whether or not THE RUSSIAN CHURCH changed its mind about MANDATORY VACCINES. Again, Met. Hilarion is not the Church, and HEK293 was not the subject of the question put to him nor of the Orthodox Times article. If the Orthodox Times wanted to do an article comparing Met. Hilarion's pro-vaccine stance to what's written in the Social Concept of the Russian Church, that'd be a horse of a different color. 5. You said: "The Church has also said that the vaccines should be voluntary." Where has it said that? Of course various hierarchs and committee members have made their comments to the media, but where has the Russian Church said this Synodally? 6. I said it's not so surprising that Met. Hilarion would take this stance. That doesn't mean I agree with him. It means it's not such a surprise.
Panayotis6/23/2021 6:10 am
It’s pretty sad that your readers need to go to The Orthodox Times to learn about ecclesial events and issues in Russia. One would expect a Russian site like yours to be able to handle that but that has never really been the case and I think that perceptive readers can figure out why. So Jesse, instead of complaining about the Orthodox Times, you should thank them for doing your job for you!
Herman6/23/2021 1:04 am
Jesse: have you not heard that the mandatory vaccinations for workers are also being introduced in Kemerovo, Tula, and Sakhalin regions as well? Including Moscow, that's FOUR regions. Is TASS also an unreliable new outlet? It's up to the governors now, at least "officially" although I think it's obvious this comes from the Kremlin, don't you? Dimitry Peskov said so himself! So soon, you will see this program branch out and spread across the country. As regards Met. Hilarion, I watched the video myself (I speak and understand Russian). Orthodox Times reported what he said. He is contradicting the official position of the Church, which is that these vaccines are UNETHICAL because they were created using HEK-293 cells! The Church has also said that the vaccines should be voluntary. Now, he supports the MANDATORY injection of workers with this experimental drug??? This is not surprising to you to see an Orthodox bishop supporting mandatory vaccination measures, in which many people will be forced to quit their jobs, or else, forced to be injected with this thing in order to continue receiving wages?
Rdr Daniel6/22/2021 9:27 pm
It is not the Holy Church's place to do the Governments biding, or the work of doctors by preaching about medical issues from the pulpit. Only the moral issues should be spoken of (stem cell research on aborted babies' cells etc...) and then the issue dealt with on a pastoral basis along with a person's doctor.
Hieronymus6/22/2021 5:43 pm
Let alll hierarch's keep there back straight and say NO to the killervaccine in this plandemic!
Jesse Dominick6/22/2021 5:04 pm
Herman, first I would say that this program with Met. Hilarion just aired on Sunday evening, and it's now only Tuesday, so it's not fair to characterize it as a glaring omission over the past week. Second, Orthodox Times is, unsurprisingly, exaggerating and distorting facts to take a swipe at the Russian Church. There is no evidence that "the Russian Church" has changed its mind, because the Russian Church has not, as far as we are aware, expressed any opinion on this matter. Metropolitan Hilarion is one bishop and clearly states on the program: "I have a positive view of this initiative..." He makes no claim to be speaking for the Russian Church on this matter. In fact, addressing the same matter back in January, he specifically notes that the Synod has not discussed it. So the Russian Church has never adopted a stance on the matter, thus it obviously hasn't changed its mind. Met. Hilarion himself was already vaccinated quite a while ago and has always encouraged people to get the vaccine, and it's really not much of a surprise that he personally would take this stance. And there is another deception in the Orthodox Times article - they declare that the ROC does whatever the Kremlin says, but then talks about "Moscow authorities," banking on most readers not understanding the difference. The measures for mandatory vaccines for certain workers are coming from the MOSCOW CITY AND MOSCOW OBLAST authorities NOT the FEDERAL authorities of the Kremlin. Orthodox Times is not a source to be trusted.
Herman6/22/2021 3:35 pm
I'm a frequent reader of your website and I have noticed a glaring omission in the last week. You write about this Greek PM but you don't write anything about the Russian Orthodox Church's sudden support for the mandatory vaccination regime that is being implemented in the Russian Federation. Metropolitan Hilarion went on TV promoting mandatory vaccination, in contradiction to the Church's official stated position, which is that the vaccine should be voluntary. Can anyone offer some insight as to why this is the case?
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