Anti-Vax Priests are dying like chickens in Greece.
The coronavirus has been ravaging Orthodox Christian communities across Greece, afflicting one unvaccinated religious leader after another and pushing some priests and monks to reconsider their anti-vaccination attitude.
At least four unvaccinated monks died of the virus last month on Mount Athos, a Covid hotspot and one of the world’s most prominent sites of Eastern Orthodox monasticism.
The problem even affects priests: a priest in Patra and a 46-year-old Archimandrite in Thessaloniki died of the virus only last week. Both of them had never been vaccinated. After their deaths, Greek media outlets stated that one of the deceased monks from Mount Athos had indicated an interest in becoming vaccinated, but that his senior guide refused him.
In the Greek Orthodox Church, this is not unusual. A substantial number of clerics have been openly opposing pandemic measures such as lockdowns, curfews, masks and now vaccines for the past two years.
“Those who wear cassocks are a minority among those who spread vaccine phobias and lies, but they are the ones who cause the most harm to public health and the mental state of the people,” Archimandrite Bartholomew, abbot of the Holy Monastery of Esphigmenou in Mount Athos wrote on Facebook on Nov. 15.
“The situation has reached a breaking point. “Everywhere in Greece, there is a strong stench of death.” “Those who promote misinformation about the pandemic crave power and celebrity, earning an audience and subservient followers,” the statement said. They don’t instill values in individuals. instead, they exploit their anxieties and desires.”
However, in the last few months, there appears to have been a significant increase in the number of priests who have taken the vaccine—and it appears that the Covid pandemic among the clergy, with some infections resulting in death have played a significant part in this shift.
Only roughly 30-40% of the clergy were vaccinated in September, according to Nikos Tzanakis, professor of pulmonology at the University of Crete.
“The fact that several of them were down with Covid and died, as well as federal and local Metropolitan actions threatening to put them on hold, is undoubtedly a powerful motivator. In Greece, I believe that roughly 70% of priests have been vaccinated “He revealed this to The Daily Beast.
The fourth wave which reached Greece in early fall triggered a rise in new Covid cases with a total of 8,613 new cases reported in only one day in early November, the largest number ever recorded in the country.
Since the start of the epidemic, more than 17,000 people have died in Greece as a result of the virus.The great majority of infected patients who end up in hospital ICUs, according to official data from the National Public Health Organization (NPHO) are unvaccinated.
At the same time, since the first immunizations arrived in Greece on Christmas Day last year, anti-vaccine groups have been lobbying and protesting against the vaccine and government efforts. In several situations, priests were at the forefront of the anti-vaccine movement.
Although the Greek Orthodox church’s leaders have complied to some extent with the rules and have declared support for the immunization drive, it is the “priests” who have caused the greatest harm.
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