Valaam, June 25, 2021
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.”