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Greece

Vaccination is Not an Ecclesiastical Issue Says Greek Synod

ATHENS – During a news conference after a recent meeting of The Holy Standing Synod of the Church of Greece the Synod responded to what it said were false allegations that have been raised against it after the Feast of the Epiphany.

The Holy Synod referred also to the issue of the COVID-19 vaccines and clarified that “vaccination is not a theological or ecclesiastical issue, calling it mainly a medical-scientific issue as well as a free personal choice made by each person in communication with his doctor and by no means constitutes a fall from the right Faith and life.”

The statement noted, among other things that during the feast of the Epiphany the order and the observance of the sanitary measures was maintained inside the Holy naves while the cases of deviations in which the measures were not observed outside the naves, were minimal and unfortunately have been over-exaggerated by the media.

The Synod declared that, “the Holy Synod strongly protested against publications, not of those who criticize, even harshly, the Church, but of those who with systematic one-sidedness and expediency targeted the Church, its Shepherds and its People and, above all, tried to incriminate every manifestation of their religious sentiment. Faith is not an individual fact, according to Protestant concepts, but a fact of relationship experienced predominantly in the common Sacred Worship, which is recognized as the way to be a member of the Orthodox Church.”

One of the Hierarchs of the Church of Greece, Metropolitan Ierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agios Vlasios, has already been vaccinated, representing the Archbishop of Athens and All Greece, who could not be vaccinated due to medical reasons.”

The spokesman of the Holy Synod, Metropolitan Athenagoras of Ilion, replied to a question he was asked by stressing that the Church of Greece would refer the matter of fake news to the National Council for Radio and Television (NCRTV).

Regarding the Metropolitan of Kalavrita and the celebration of the Epiphany, he underlined that they decided to send him a letter but he refused to disclose its content.

Referring to the concerns that civil marriages are allowed, whereas religious weddings are not, he underlined that the Church had in fact appealed to the Council of State. He said that a request was submitted so that weddings and baptisms are allowed with a minimum number of people.

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