ATHENS – As the Greek Church has been exempted from requiring attendees to show a negative COVID-19 test before being allowed in for services, an infected priest on the island of Lesbos likely may spread the virus in his parish.
That news came from Metropolitan Bishop Iakovos of Mytilene who ordered clerics to be vaccinated after he said the priest, who was not named, was responsible for putting parishioners at risk.
“I am ordering you to get the vaccine against coronavirus within a week. Other you will be suspended without pay until you do so,” he warned, said the state-run broadcaster ERT.
The station said that the infected priest conducted services on Oct. 26, the Feast Day of St. Dimitrios despite being infected and that an investigation will try to determine whether he knew it as other cases appeared quickly after that.
His family members, as well as those who assisted him in the service, have also fallen ill with the virus, said ERT, adding that among 35 priests in the diocese there are anti-vaxxers telling churchgoers not to be vaccinated and to violate health rules about wearing masks, even in church.
The Church had just urged parishioners to produce a negative test before entering churches for services as infections set records and the major opposition SYRIZA said it would file in Parliament an amendment requiring that.
ERT reports that among the 35 priests in the diocese who have not been vaccinated are Covid deniers, who urge their flocks not to wear masks, including in churches.