Church of Greece urges clergy, faithful to get vaccinated; Bishops threaten to suspend unvaccinated priests

November 4, 2021

The Holy Synod of the Church of Greece has issued a circular calling on priests and the faithful to get vaccinated against Covid-19, to wear masks and keep safety distances in churches to contain the spread of coronavirus. Ιt also calls on unvaccinated faithful to go to churches after they have carried out a Rapid or PCR test, and it stresses the obligation of clergy, chanters and auxiliary personnel to have diagnostic tests twice per week, as the new state rules dictate.

The call comes as the country is facing an unprecedented spike in infections and unvaccinated churchgoers have been exempted from the obligation to present a negative Rapid or PCR test before entering a place of worship, a government decision that triggered a lot of criticism.

“Responding to the surge in coronavirus cases, the Holy Synod, in addition to its written circulars and instructions, appeals to all its clergy, as well as to the faithful, that when they attend holy temples they fully observe all measures to protect from the spread of coronavirus disease and urges everyone to get vaccinated, according to the instructions of the medical community,” the Holy Synod said in a statement after a meeting on Wednesday.

Οn Thursday, two bishops, the Bishop of Lesvos and the Bishop of Dodonis, gave a deadline to local priest to get vaccinated or provide a medical certificate why they shouldn’t otherwise they will get suspended from work without salary.

Αccoridng to media reports, there are 35 unvaccinated priests on the island of Lesvos and some of them even urge the faithful to refrain from the vaccinations. According to the same sources,  priest infected with Covid-19 had recently held an afternoon service in a church spreading the virus among the village churchgoers. Bishop Iakovos suspended him without payment.

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