Moscow, July 1, 2021
Monks and workers of Valaam Monastery who do not wish to receive the COVID vaccine will not be expelled from the monastery, according to His Grace Bishop Savva of Zelenograd, the Deputy Administrator of the Moscow Patriarchate.
Bp. Savva explained that Valaam Monastery is stravropegic, and therefore all major decisions require approval from the Patriarch.
His Holiness Patriarch Kirill has not endorsed mandatory vaccinations in monasteries of the Russian Orthodox Church. At this time, no monks or laborers have been expelled from the monastery.
“As for Valaam, as of today, there is no more talk of compulsion. Vladyka Pankraty is trying to exhort the brethren in a fatherly way. There can be no question of ‘eviction’ due to non-vaccination,” Bp. Savva wrote on his official Telegram channel yesterday.
His Grace Bishop Pankraty of Troitsk, the abbot of Valaam, had told RIA-Novosti last week that he was introducing a mandatory vaccination policy at the monastery, and any monks or workers who did not want to be vaccinated would have to leave the monastery. He also stated that he nearly died during his own recent bout with COVID.
At this time, we do not have any information as to the number of monks who do not wish to be vaccinated.
Bp. Savva also emphasized that the Moscow city measures on the obligatory vaccination of certain workers does not apply to religious organizations, as stated in the circular issued by His Holiness Patriarch Kirill yesterday.
And during his annual televised “Direct Line” Q and A session yesterday, President Vladimir Putin stated that he is against mandatory vaccination and explained that State Duma Deputies also opposed making the COVID vaccine mandatory on the federal level. However, according to a 1998 law, regional leaders have the right to introduce mandatory vaccination for certain categories of citizens on the recommendation of their local chief sanitary doctor.