The Russian Orthodox Church warned that those who refuse to be vaccinated against COVID-19 are committing a sin they will have to repent for the rest of their lives.
Speaking to TV channel Russia-24, the head of the Russia Orthodox Church’s Department for External Church Relations, Metropolitan Hilarion, explained that his parishioners regularly repent to him for not being vaccinated.
“They come and say, ‘How am I supposed to live with this now?’ And it’s hard for even me to say how to live with it,” he explained. “All your life, you have to make up for the sin you committed.”
The Russian cleric reflected on those parishioners who were not vaccinated and felt guilty for spreading the virus to those closest to them.
“The sin is thinking about yourself instead of thinking about other people,” the metropolitan said. “We are responsible – each of us – not only for ourselves and not only for our loved ones, but also for all those who come into contact with us.”
Metropolitan Hilarion has regularly spoken on TV urging people to follow the measures against COVID-19 and to take precautions to avoid infection.
In June, the cleric revealed his “positive attitude” towards the government initiative to impose compulsory vaccination on those working in the service sector.
“Of course, it is desirable to observe the principle of voluntariness in relation to vaccinations – the principle that was stated from the very beginning,” he explained. “But there is also the principle of people’s responsibility for the lives of other people.”
Although the Greek Orthodox Church has formally endorsed COVID-19 vaccinations, there are still many within the church who urge their parishioners not to take them.
Some clerics even falsely claimed that vaccines are made from aborted fetuses.