MT ATHOS – The Abbot of the Esphigmenou Monastery on Mt Athos, Vartholomaios, has asked for an investigation into clerics at the religious site he said are urging people not to be vaccinated and conspiring against the COVID-19 pandemic fight.
Speaking on public broadcaster ERT Radio, he asked for the intervention as he said that he can’t stand still “when death smells around us, not only on Mount Athos but all over the world.”
That led a prosecutor in Thessaloniki to order a preliminary probe into that accusation about the clerics encouraging monks not to get vaccinated against the Coronavirus, apparently in the belief that God will protect them.
The Abbot said that a scientific and medical issue had been usurped by some clerics he said are “consciously” lying in the name of Mount Athos and even the Monastery of Esphigmenou.
As part of the prosecutor’s investigation, Vartholomaios will be summoned to testify and name those he has referred to in order to determine whether they are disseminating fake news, said Kathimerini, that being an unlawful act.
The monastic state of Mount Athos has been hit by COVID, with several dozen monks falling ill since the beginning of the pandemic and some dying due to complications of the often deadly disease.