Church of Greece Urges Vaccination


His Beatitude Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece. (Photo by Eurokinissi/Christos Bonis)

ATHENS – The Church of Greece expressed itself in an encyclical of the Standing Holy Synod in the clearest and most unequivocal manner and formulation in favor of the vaccine which shields people from the coronavirus, characterizing it as a “gift that God has given us.”

The encyclical on the theme ‘Church and science in the fight against the pandemic’ has already been sent to all the Metropolises with the exhortation that it be read in the church congregations.

Below is the entire historic text of the encyclical of the Church of Greece:

“Beloved children in the Lord,

“The most perfect creation of God is man (άνθρωπος), who was created to live forever. Selfishness led man to fall, and the fall resulted in sickness and death.

“Our Creator, in order to alleviate the suffering of people from diseases, gave us medical science and medicines. In the Old Testament, the Prophet Isaiah, with the help of the medicine of his time, healed Hezekiah.

“In the New Testament, moreover, the Lord Himself emphasizes the necessity of medical science, saying: ‘Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick’ (Matt. 9:12), which means that when the body is sick, there is a need for medical assistance.

“Saint Nektarios also, shortly before his death, unable to bear the pains of his illness, sought medical care at the ‘Aretaeio’ Hospital, where he died.

“But also St. Luke the Physician, a pioneer in medical scientific achievements, gave and continues even after his death to give people, with the power of the Holy Spirit, health of the body, as well as of the soul.

“In our time, Saint Porphyrios became the pre-eminent Saint of the Nursing Institutions and, knowing as much as anyone else the pain of the patients, he asked people to pray for the enlightenment of doctors, and to turn to them for help when disease comes to them.

“Even today, the Church trusts the scientific community of physicians, which fights day and night to rid people of the deadly pandemic. With the enlightenment of God and the painstaking effort of scientific researchers, humanity now has the vaccine at its disposal, which is capable of putting an obstacle in the way of the spread of the pandemic. The hope has risen for a return to normalcy, but, above all, for the unhindered participation in the Divine Mysteries of our Church, culminating in the Communion of all of us during the Mystery of the Holy Eucharist.

“The Holy Synod of the Church of Greece, knowing that vaccination is a maximum act of responsibility towards fellow human beings, recommends that everyone, in consultation with his or her doctor, use this gift that God has given us, in order to protect ourselves, but also every human being ‘for whom Christ died.’ (Rom. 14:15). And it genuinely wants to assure people that this vaccine does not contradict the Hagiographic, Patriarchal and Canonical teaching of our Holy Church.

“Fear of anything unprecedented often provokes reactions or suspicion, often resulting in confused voices and division. This, however, contradicts the request of our Lord, in His Hierarchical Prayer, ‘that all may be one’ (John 17:21).

“In this difficult time, faith, prudence, humility, a high sense of responsibility, solidarity, and love for God and neighbor are needed, because if they disappear, fear takes over the hearts of people, and according to the Prophet David, ‘they were timid with fear, of which there was no fear’ (Ps. 13: 5).

“Beloved children in the Lord,

“We invite you to listen to the voice of science and experts, who always inform the citizenry with a high sense of responsibility, proposing appropriate solutions adapted to address the difficulties that arise from time to time.

“Many times, on social media, views are constantly disseminated which lack scientific accuracy, as well as ecclesiastical spirit. That is why we recall and draw attention to the words of the Evangelist of Love, St. John the Theologian: ‘Do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are of God’ (I John 4:1).

"Our children,

"We call on everyone to be prayer warriors, as prayer is also the pre-eminent weapon of Christians, so that together with the observance of medical instructions and with the help of scientific achievements, the pandemic and the threat of death will disappear from humanity and all together we will glorify the Leader of our Faith, Jesus Christ, Who came into this world so ‘that they may have life, and have it abundantly’ (John 10:10).

"With love in the Lord and many paternal blessings."