ATHENS – With the Church of Greece not requiring clerics to be inoculated against COVID-19, another anti-vaxxer in its ranks has died from the virus, Metropolitan Kosmas of Aetolia and Acarnania, a few weeks after it took his sister.
He was a vehement opponent of vaccines, one of many in the church who don’t believe the vaccines are safe or effective, some believing they are the work of the devil and who denounce them publicly.
The Bishop, 76, refused to be vaccinated and was admitted to a hospital in Agrinio in western Greece on Dec. 1 with a COVID infection before being transferred to an ICU unit at Athens’ Evangelismos Hospital, said Kathimerini.
That sparked a debate given his refusal to be protected as his opposition to wearing masks, keeping safe social distances and defiance of government measures to slow the pandemic.
During a sermon in 2020, Kosmas lashed at those who were reluctant to attend a packed church, calling them “unfaithful,” the paper noted and he told them that, “God does not allow you to be infected. God does not infect! It is a holy place, the temple is heavenly,” before he found he was infected himself.
Also that year he was summoned by the Holy Synod to explain himself over his “disobedience and disrespect of the unanimous decision of the collective body of the Church of Greece” but he wasn’t otherwise limited. His sister, who was also unvaccinated and was 75, died on Dec. 13.
A number of Greek clerics have been killed by the Coronavirus which has spread throughout the Church and monasteries, including on Mt. Athos but only health care workers in Greece are required to be vaccinated.