Valaam abbot introduces mandatory vaccines for brothers and workers

Valaam, June 25, 2021

ria,ru ria,ru     

All those living and working at Holy Transfiguration Valaam Monastery are required to receive the COVID vaccine, and any who refuse will be kicked out of the monastery, the abbot told RIA-Novosti yesterday.

His Grace Bishop Pankraty of Troitsk, the abbot of the famous Valaam Monastery, was recently infected with the coronavirus. He had received the Sputnik vaccine in September but no longer had enough anti-bodies to fight off the virus.

As the bishop-abbot explained, the vaccine will be mandatory for the brethren, clergy, and all workers.  

“A principle that’s fundamental for any monastery is obedience to the abbot, the hierarchy. If it’s observed, then the monastery functions and develops normally; if not, then everything collapses. Therefore, I couldn’t leave such a serious issue to free will,” Bp. Pankraty explained.

Those who refuse to be vaccinated “will simply be removed from the monastery without any financial support,” he added, noting that there are a few who are refusing.

Volunteers coming to the monastery will be asked to show either proof of vaccination or a recent PCR test. “But if we are vaccinated, then it won’t be so scary for us anymore,” His Grace commented.

Referring to his own bout with the virus, the monastery head emphasized that he and others he saw were at the brink of death. “Therefore, polemics and opinions are completely irrelevant,” he believes.

“I stand for absolutely, complete, one hundred percent vaccination of the entire population of the Russian Federation. This is my position: I was just in the red zone myself, near death, and I saw people waiting for death on a ventilator,” he recalled.

There are differing opinions about mandatory vaccination within the Russian Orthodox Church, which has not voiced an official position on the matter.

His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev) recently stated that he personally is in favor of the Moscow city administration’s mandatory vaccination order for service workers, while His Grace Bishop Savva of Zelenograd, the Deputy Administrator of the Moscow Patriarchate, denied rumors yesterday that mandatory vaccination will be enforced for Moscow clergy.

“I can say quite officially that there are no such intentions,” His Grace said. And speaking personally and unofficially, he adds that he believes the vaccine is good and useful, “but everyone decides for himself.”

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Denise Smith1/3/2024 3:38 pm
I always wondered how anyone could say they were safe and effective when there were no long term safety studies. It was amazing how many people were saying that and how they vilified their reasoned opponents.
sherlock_holmes6/30/2021 8:46 am
Motto:" The good is not good if it is not done well ! Saint John of Damascus " The vaccines are not the mark of the beast but could be its tail...A popular message circulating on social media with reference to the French Nobel laureate, Luc Montagnier, claims that everyone who has taken any COVID-19 vaccine will die in two years...Luc Montagnier has raised two broad issues to support his controversial views. The first is that vaccines are driving the creation of mutants. The second is that a process called antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE) is driving more (serious) infection in vaccinated persons...If this is true,would anybody in the Church or government talk about mandatory vaccination ?! I hope Russia's Sputnik is not that bad than mRNA gene therapy in the West.
Mikhail6/30/2021 1:58 am
No JJ...I will not stay quiet and I will not stop pointing my finger. As Herman and others have said, these experimental gene therapy abortion murderous shots are pure evil and must be resisted with every ounce of our being. This is a fight unto martyrdom. I was just threatened at my job to get the "vaccine" or be fired. I filed a religious exemption. Now I am being treated like a leper and a pariah. I am certain they will find a way to fire me...but I will continue to fight. It is odious beyond comprehension that we have hierarchs, clergy, monastics, and laity who actively support this evil. God help us all.
Mikhail6/29/2021 11:07 pm
Is the Sputnik shot similar to the experimental gene therapy (mRNA) in the U.S.? Does it also have links to abortion?
JJ6/29/2021 9:35 pm
Why are a bunch of Americans making proclamations about what happens in a Russian monastery? Everyone should mind their own business, live their own lives and stop pointing the finger. Not only that some of the rhetoric is merely conjecture, suggestion, and unsubstantiated assertions of political conspiracy - the type of stuff that gives true Orthodoxy a very bad reputation.
Paul6/29/2021 5:21 pm
M Cornelia. Every vaccine currently available for COVID-19 has links to abortion. People can argue about whether it is the "mark of the beast" or not but this link to abortion is an unequivocal fact. The manufacturers make no effort to hide this and why would they? The world in general thinks abortion is OK. In the Church we find differences of opinion as to the morality of accepting this vaccine. Personally I would not judge anyone who accepts the vaccine in good faith - indeed I know many Christians who have. I do not intend to receive it however I work in an industry where it may well be mandated and I could lose my job if I refuse. I honestly don't know what I will do if that happens but I don't want to be put in a position of choosing between my conscience and being able to put a roof over my family's head and food on their table. Neither do I want to see any of my brothers put in that position. When Christian leaders either mandate this vaccine for their flock (as in the case of the Valaam Abbot) or support mandatory vaccination by the state (as in the case of Met Hilarion) they are opposing fellow Christians who are making a moral stand against abortion. What makes it more shocking in the Russian Orthodox Church is medical use of aborted foetal stem cells was condemned in the Social Concept of the Russian Orthodox Church. They are literally throwing their sheep to the wolves. I'm sorry but there is no other way of describing it.
m. Cornelia6/29/2021 12:20 pm
Pj, Herman: I don't have any more time to continue this conversation, but it's clear we're not seeing eye to eye. I am talking about prayer that the Lord direct our steps and show us the way to fight with this, if we really need to. Western converts (and I am one) rely too much on their minds to deal with matters of faith, and that is especially a problem when those minds are not competent to address these things properly. It would make more sense to ask the opinion of Orthodox doctors. The Church hierarchy at least has the humility to admit that they don't know enough to make definitive statements, which is why they mostly haven't. What Met. Hilarion said is a matter of his own opinion, and Met. Pangraty is motivated by his feeling of responsibility for the health of all his brothers and the many workers, not to mention the throngs of tourists to Valaam. Although what happens in Russia with vaccines is not likely to affect you in the US, let's get the info straight: mandatory vaccines are being instituted in some workplaces but by far not all. There have not yet been any regional mandates for all citizens, and certainly not federal. These are matters for the courts, if anyone feels his rights are being violated. We can consult scripture or the Holy Fathers on many evils of the day, but I challenge you to find something on vaccinations, or any proof that they are the mark of the beast. If you can do this convincingly, go ahead.
Herman6/29/2021 1:04 am
m. Cornelia: Why would I have a problem with praying? I stated exactly what I will be praying for. We must pray, but we must also resist evil. No, you did not explicitly state that you are defending mandatory vaccination, but you IMPLICITLY defended it by making the statement that this Abbot has the right to do this. No, he does not, and neither do any of the regional governors in Russia, nor does anyone else, in any country, for any reason. Mandatory injection of an experimental drug is NEVER right, it is ALWAYS wrong, and NO ONE has the right to force this on another person. Christ surely DOES want me to fight this war. I didn't start the war. This is self-defense. Especially when these madmen are currently injecting CHILDREN with these drugs. Christ surely does NOT wish for me to sit around and let this happen, just as we are supposed to ALWAYS defend our Faith, our family, and our homeland from those that would wish to destroy them. Isn't this obvious? Are you suggesting that when the time comes, we should all just roll over and let the Big Pharma/international system inject us with weird mystery substances, which were created with aborted fetal cells? If that is your position (I'm not sure that it is, but how else should I interpret your admonition to "not fight"?), allow me to respectfully disagree. The abbot of Valaam didn't just decide to do this on his own, on his own timing, but this comes within the same week that mandatory vaccination is being rolled out (last time I checked, 5 regions in Russia) in your country... with Met. Hilarion calling 85% of the Russian population (those that don't want the vaccine) stupid and irresponsible. So part of our concern here is the possibility that some of our bishops are simply doing the bidding of the government (in Russia, Greece, Serbia, USA, etc.) and NOT making their own free and informed decisions regarding this matter. Where is the concern for those that are being forced out of their jobs because of this? Where is the concern for the monks that will be evicted, with no assistance? Why not give them some kind of help so they can get to another monastery? It's all very brutal and cruel. This is what Fr Peter Heers calls "the demonic methodology" of lies and fear tactics, and it MUST be fought against, it MUST be resisted. We should be fighting mandatory vaccination just as we fight abortion, or the transsexual agenda being taught to children, or our own sins, and so on. We should be praying, and resisting evil - the two go hand in hand, as always. P.S. it's spelled "cannon" (what shoots cannonballs) as opposed to "canon" (what we follow in the Church). I appreciated your pun regardless.
PJ6/29/2021 12:41 am
@m.cornelia “No one here is trying to tell you what choice to make--to get a vaccine or not” and as far as the comments here go, you are, of course, correct. But that is not the case for the poor monastics at Valaam, is it? “As the bishop-abbot explained, the vaccine will be mandatory for the brethren, clergy, and all workers…Those who refuse to be vaccinated ‘will simply be removed from the monastery without any financial support.’” Is that something our Lord would say and do? Those monks aren’t being given a choice to follow their consciences like you and me, are they? That’s wrong. Period. The man who is essentially the number two in the Patriarchate of Moscow, perhaps himself the future Patriarch of Moscow, is publicly stating his support for the city of Moscow’s mandatory vaccine order for service workers. Those service workers aren’t being given the choice to follow their consciences like you and me, are they? That’s wrong. Period. And the people here publicly calling them out on it are right in so doing. One can be involved in any and all of the charitable works you mention AND still say: “You know what Bishop Pankraty, Metropolitan Hilarion, what you are saying and doing is wrong.” The two aren’t mutually exclusive. This has nothing to do with vaxxers vs. anti-vaxxers. It’s about two Orthodox leaders promoting vaccines of dubious morality and not allowing their respective flocks to morally object and refuse to take them without risking their homes and jobs. That’s why people here are objecting and rightfully so.
Paul6/29/2021 12:11 am
Orthodoxy has a real problem here. I have read Orthodox leaders say everything from COVID vaccines are antichrist, to they are morally tainted, to they are morally acceptable, to they are a matter of conscience, to they should be mandatory. The Hierarchs of global Orthodoxy really need to get a grip here and prayerfully find the mind of Christ in this or the consequences could be dire. You simply cannot have that level of mixed messages without consequence.
m. Cornelia6/28/2021 11:38 pm
PJ: I am talking about spiritual warfare. Let's all agree that the problems we have today, with possibly invented viruses, vaccines (as well as much else) tested on aborted fetuses, and so on are all proof that the world lies in evil, as you can read in the New Testament. No one here is trying to tell you what choice to make--to get a vaccine or not--but there are people who do not see any other way. This is not the first vaccine there ever was, and people have accepted vaccines in the past. St. Ignatius (Brianchaninov) wrote, "Don't dare to raise your feeble hand to stop the tide of evil washing across the world. Whatever we do, we have to do it prayerfully, asking God's help. The tone I'm hearing from all these comments is not prayerful, it's full of fear that someone out there like, say, the WHO, can harm us without God's allowance. I am saying that the battle the we fight with our own inclinations (judging and anger, for example) is much more important to the Lord. You are fighting you don't know what. Do you want to fight with the abbot of Valaam? Or with the WHO? It seems to me that things are too complicated and the whole problem cannot be pinned on these people you're attacking. Do you want to fight Covid? Great, get out there and help people who are sick, donate to hospitals, support people who don't have the money to pay the medical bills. Do you want to fight disinformation? Spend some time really studying the issue--and not just by scanning the internet. But really, there are people with qualifications to do this. Do you want to fight the use of fetuses in science? Fight abortion first, so that there are no aborted fetuses to use. Join the clergy in molebens outside of abortion clinics. Support women in trouble, teach young people how to be chaste, and first of all, war with your own failings. Acquire the spirit of peace, as St. Seraphim says. I am saying that we will not accomplish anything by such high-minded accusations, or dividing the world into the vaxxers and the anti-vaxxers. Forgive me for my long comment, but I feel like I have to say what I think about this.
PJ6/28/2021 8:38 pm
@m. Cornelia How can you possibly know that this isn’t “the war Jesus Christ wants us to fight?” Are you expecting something much greater in the future, and if so, should we just roll over here and not oppose the lesser injustice we are facing at the present moment? What is to come down the road and whether or not we will even be here to face it none of us can know, but we do have an obligation to fight the evil in front of us when it shows itself in the here and now, and I think that that is what those of us who oppose these coerced and mandatory COVID vaccinations are doing. I also think we are extremely disappointed and saddened when we see that it’s our very own religious leaders who are doing the coercion. What this abbot is doing, along with Metropolitan Hilarion, is nothing short of scandalous, to me anyway, and I think that they should be ashamed of themselves.
m. Cornelia6/28/2021 7:43 pm
Herman: Where did I say that I defend mandatory vaccinations? I was pointing out the rights that an abbot has in his own monastery. Also, that the monks have a right to leave if they don't agree. If you are so negligent in reading and interpreting a comment, how can you expect me to take you seriously concerning all of your other information? You are sounding like a loose canon, no pun intended. Do you understand, that this is not the war that Jesus Christ wants us to fight? If we are leading a spiritual life and following His commandments, we will be led in the right direction. But you and I are neither scientists nor holy elders. We have to have some humility, or God will abandon us, and the devil will use our zeal without reason to take us in the wrong direction. Do you have a problem with my suggestion that we pray harder?
Herman6/28/2021 4:19 pm
m. Cornelia - you are repeating all the talking points coming out of the WHO. Now you are even defending mandatory vaccinations. Why are you doing this? This is not a pandemic, it is a globalist control tactic. Anyone that attempts to force an experimental drug on anyone else is the enemy, NOT those of us who are outraged by an abuse of authority like this. You Russians all hate the Nazis so much, don't you realize this is a violation of the Nuremberg Code? Yes or no? Most of us don't believe any of this propaganda about "variants" which are just designed to scare people into getting the "vaccinations." Endless variants can be invented, new lockdowns introduced, and the demonization of the unvaccinated will reach insane levels, we will be treated as walking biological threats, as terrorists that need to be arrested and force-vaccinated for the greater good. Do you like this idea? You should know by now, having had the last year and a half to research all of this, what the United Nations Agenda 2030 is. You should know what the Great Reset is being pushed by Klaus Schwab and his World Economic Forum. If not, you can research them now. This is all pretty obvious, yet, you seem to believe that if we all get injected with these drugs then the "pandemic" will just go away and everything will be OK. You are in for a rude awakening. What do you think this is all really about anyway? The vaccination agenda is well-publicized, and it is not about saving lives, it is a population control program. This has been explicitly discussed by even Jonas Salk, the "father" of the polio vaccine. What I will be praying for is deliverance and protection from being force-injected with one of these substances, and in regards to those that would attempt such a thing - "arise, Lord, let my enemies be scattered..." God is surely with us if we remain faithful to Him, and resist this global antichrist system - and the politicians and clergy that have unfortunately sided with it.
Nicole6/27/2021 10:20 pm
The tragedy of this decision is that he seems unaware of the much-censored early treatment for COVID which uses inexpensive SAFE repurposed generic medications used for decades along with nutraceuticals in a staged process according to what the virus is actually doing in the human body. Very well documented. The financial drivers of Big Pharma and Big Tech have censored this simple Christ-like “help to the poor and vulnerable high-risk”, no surprise to us Orthodox Christians. Hundreds of thousands of grateful laypeople in the US have learned about it and used it and thank me. These vaccines themselves have already caused great harm. The key to understanding the push for vaccines is that none could be used in EUA (emergency use authorization) fashion IF there is any effective existing early treatment. Well there is! There is also no fear driving the public when people know something safe simple and inexpensive is available and works! God forgive all those in my profession (medical) and the pharmaceutical industry and government who are silenced by for-profit only utilitarian greed. That passion is killing souls and bodies. Does Russia have freedom from liability for vaccine makers as the US unwisely does? Does Russia have direct pharmaceutical company advertising to consumers (thus enabling dominance of media)? Only NZ does as well. Does Russia have a regulatory agency like the FDA which is 50% funded by users (Big Pharma)? Please see the simple treatment for prevention, early outpatient treatment at home beginning in days 1 to 3, then in acute inflammation stage which is the overreaction of the immune system/ body in the at-risk which causes the actual damage to organ systems. I am sure this Abbot means well, but he is being deluded by the princes of the world so to speak. Christ has given us most compassionately simple remedies which only the humble apparently will consider. I encourage all to educate yourselves. Please see or that is not publishable please search for the American Association of Physicians and Surgeons website and youtube channels to find the information and resources you need. God bless, keep and heal us. And may all of us look with thanks to Christ for His compassion and repent for going along with the princes of the world for so long that we have grieved our Lord deeply and blinded ourselves. Certainly true of me.
Paul6/27/2021 5:44 pm
I find this REALLY disturbing. The Sputnik V vaccines (alongside Pfizer, Moderna, J&J and AstraZeneca) all have links to foetal cell lines derived from abortion. Many Orthodox Christians (and other Christian groups within the Roman Catholic Church and Protestants) have grave moral concerns about their links to abortion. I understand some think differently and that is for their conscience but to force someone to go against their moral Christian conscience is very grave. I hope those brothers who refuse the vaccine are blessed by God for their stand. As St Peter said, we must obey God rather than men.
Nikolaos Balaskas6/27/2021 5:33 pm
When the Apostles asked Jesus about the "end times", He answered by saying that they should not be deceived by the ruler of this world. I seek medical attention from my doctors whenever I get sick or to treat my physical aliments. This includes annual flu vaccines like Sputnik V to protect me from coronaviruses which normally are not harmful to younger healthy people but can kill me because I have many other serious medical conditions and a weaker immune system. Although experimental injections such as AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Moderna are promoted as COVID vaccines, they are like past traditional and effective real vaccines as the do not protect you from COVID and do not prevent you from spreading COVID to others. In fact over 1 and 1/2 million people who have taken these experimental injections developed by anti-God, anti-family and anti-life eugenicists have been hospitalized and about 25,000 have already died in just Europe alone...
Mikhail6/27/2021 1:56 am
m. Cornelia, (1) The chance of surviving COVID, even for the most at-risk age group, is about 98%. (2) This is an experimental “vaccine”. Many of the shots are untested gene therapy. We do not know the long-term effects of such things. The “vaccine” makers are exempt from liability. (3) I certainly understand if a secular godless employer tries to force something like this on their employees. I also understand if a tyrannical government creates “vaccine” passports. But the Abbot of Valaam?!? Lord have mercy! (4) Does the connection to abortion matter to Orthodox hierarchs any longer? (5) I have seen no one talking about jumping ship for a schismatic group. PS…Edward Hara, Don’t give up on holy Orthodoxy. It is the one true Church of Christ. Now is the time to embrace Her more than ever…especially since it seems we are approaching end times.
Mary6/26/2021 11:40 pm
@ Edward Hara - Read these articles too... All hope is not lost... and
Michael6/26/2021 11:29 pm
Shameful. Acting out of fear and threatening others, there’s nothing Christ like about this. God bless the monks who are persecuted for resisting this madness.
m. Cornelia6/26/2021 10:48 pm
Look folks, go ahead and throw the rotten tomatoes at me if you like, but cool down your fiery rhetoric against this abbot and bishop. Consider the following: 1) Russia is currently experiencing a third wave of the coronavirus, probably the aggressive Indian strain, and the hospitals in the capital cities are filled beyond capacity. 15-30% of the patients are on respirators. 2) There are very few hospitals in the provinces, and they are under-equipped and understaffed. 3) Valaam monastery is located on a group of islands in the very large Lake Ladoga. The only way to get to a decent hospital in St. Petersburg quickly is by helicopter. 4) The number of brothers and laborers is very large, probably the largest in Russia. If COVID 19 spreads through the brotherhood, many will die because they just won't get help in time. The abbot answers for the brothers. 5) Monasteries are about obedience. This is not the first time a controversy has hit a large monastery, and there may be some who leave if they don't want to be vaccinated. That is their right, it is an exercise of their free will. The abbot did not say that they will be banished forever, and the pandemic will eventually end. If God is on their side, He will take care of them. If He's not, they'll find out soon enough. 6) No, there is no guarantee that the vaccine will protect you for a long term, we don't know what it's going to do to us, and I won't go into the ethics, because I'm not competent to do so. But there is nothing else to prevent the virus from spreading at the moment. 7) Judge not and you will not be judged. We are all under God. Instead of shouting about how we all have to leave the MP and join schimatic groups who were obviously "right all along", or that the abbot should be deposed, we should be praying for all the people suffering from this virus, and that the Lord bring it to an end, if it's His will. If you want pathos, go to a Covid ward and see what it's like to be on the brink of death. Apply your fervor to prayer instead.
ACatharina6/26/2021 7:53 pm
Is this how an abbot treats people who have been serving the monastery for years? Obey or get out? That is unusually harsh and I think that the source of such harshness is animalistic fear of death. Dear Edward Hara, please don't be discouraged. We come to the Orthodox Church for Christ's Holy Mysteries and for the sake of our souls, not for the clergymen.
Edward Hara6/26/2021 6:04 am
You know what...I was interested in Orthodoxy, but the more I am seeing of it, the less interested I am becoming. This is beyond despicable, especially in light of the fact that the abbot himself got the vaccine and then got the disease. Apparently he has not read the scientific literature that is all over the Internet which tells us that this whole virus thing is a gigantic fraud of the worst sort. Shame, shame, shame.
Basil Hill-Zeck6/26/2021 3:06 am
I hope the expelled Fathers & Brothers are able to find a peaceful place to live, free from harassment & intimidation. Through their holy prayers may the Lord have mercy on us.
Theodore6/25/2021 9:01 pm
This is an absolute disgrace to Orthodoxy.
PJ6/25/2021 7:06 pm
Those who refuse to be vaccinated “will simply be removed from the monastery without any financial support.” - Wow!!! You’re a monk who wants to follow your conscience and not take the vaccine? Fine, we’ll kick you out of your home and not give you a dime. Good luck to you… This is extremely sad. I would have expected so much more from the Russian Orthodox Church. As a member of ROCOR, I am very disappointed that this is happening. Absolutely disgraceful!!
Peter6/25/2021 6:33 pm
So the bishop basically says “take the vaccine so I feel better or you’re disobedient and can leave” Hopefully the Russian Synod handles this or it will set a precedent
Basil6/25/2021 5:44 pm
So, he's forcing people to take a vaccine that didn't work for him when he took it? Sad!
Ron6/25/2021 5:18 pm
Can't believe that a Abbot would take the "GOD given gift of free will to man"away from his brothers. What is Orthodoxy coming to???
Mikhail6/25/2021 4:50 pm
This was a disturbing article that left a lot of questions unanswered. This bishop received the Sputnik V vaccine, but caught the virus in less than a year and almost died? Is he mandating only the Sputnik V? Is he condoning the use of the vaccines which use aborted fetal tissue cells (whether in testing or production)? Did the Sputnik V use aborted fetal tissue cells in testing or production? What gives him the authority to mandate an experimental "vaccine" for his community? Will he take responsibility if anyone becomes debilitated or dies from the vaccine...even if it is two or three years from now? I would leave that monastery in a heart beat!
Herman6/25/2021 4:15 pm
This is sickening and wrong, and this abbot should be removed if he doesn't change this demonic policy, like the police removed Fr Sergei Romanov and his followers. This is far, far worse than anything Fr Sergei said or did. This is insanity. St Herman of Alaska is surely not pleased with this. St Herman lived at Valaam before going to America, where he fearlessly ministered to the natives during a flu epidemic. He was not scared, and the natives saw his fearlessness and came to Orthodoxy and followed him. But this today is an abuse of authority. I hope the monks have courage to resist and can relocate to a monastery where they can live without being subjected to bizarre medical experiments directed at the world from the WHO and the UN. Lord have mercy. I thought the Church would fight against this and I was hoping our monasteries would be citadels of sanity where one could be free from the government mandates and projects and experiments of the world. This abbot is telling them to get injected with an experimental drug that was manufactured using aborted fetal cells, and which is called by the Social Concept of the Russian Church an "unethical" drug. How can this be permitted?
Antiochene Son6/25/2021 2:25 pm
I didn't realize that monastic obedience extended to medical decisions of dubious morality. "He had received the Sputnik vaccine in September but no longer had enough anti-bodies to fight off the virus." Science has shown that natural antibodies from COVID infection persist in the body for at least a year, and lifetime immunity is looking more and more likely. Better than any vaccine.
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