The Metropolitan of Messinia, Chrysostomos, took a clear position in favour of COVID-19 vaccinations and went one step further, requesting the obligatory vaccination for all priests.
He expressed the belief that COVID-19 vaccinations should be mandatory for the entire population, including priests.
“No one can be excluded, not even priests, as we are all vulnerable to the danger of COVID-19,” he said.
“Every member of society, if he does not want to spread death and destruction, must be vaccinated.
“The individual right is valued when I respect the other person and when I do not become the reason for another person to die – to be vaccinated and break the chain of death.”
Mr. Chrysostom also agreed – indirectly but clearly – with the position of the Russian Orthodox Church, which characterised those who refuse to be vaccinated as “sinners.”
“From the moment a person causes death in the life of himself and his fellow human beings, this is a sin. Each of us must determine our relationship with our fellow man,” he said, noting that deniers are sinners in the moral sense.
The Metropolitan of Messinia also said that “until today, the attitude of the official church towards vaccination and its necessity is a given.”
“Almost the majority of Metropolitans support this effort,” he said, adding that vaccination is a means of protection for the lives of all people.
At the same time, he stressed that the Church can only try to convince the deniers of COVID-19 vaccines through its teaching and the personal contact of the clergy with the faithful, ie. “there is nothing metaphysical” behind the vaccines.
“No superstition or conspiracy theories,” he added.
“What is worrying is that there are a lot of young people who are under this veil of conspiracy and superstition and are not getting vaccinated. It is very dangerous for all of society”, said Metropolitan Chrysostomos.
Asked about the attitude of the priests in Crete who refuse to communicate with those who have been vaccinated, he said:
“no one has the right to exclude a believer from the sacrament of Holy Communion because he has been vaccinated or because he has not been vaccinated.”
“Mystery, participation and attendance has nothing to do with this dimension of life. Those who do it are accountable to God, the church and their bishop,” he concluded.