Metropolitan bishop of Dimitrias demands that his priests be vaccinated or have a weekly self-test

‘COVID-19, which has caused the death of over 13,000 Greeks has touched the family of our clergy, claiming the lives of two of our extraordinarily good priests,’ Ignatios stated.

By George Gilson Metropolitan Ignatios of Dimitriada (Volos) is widely considered one of the most moderate and open-minded bishops of the Orthodox Church of Greece. The son of a priest who himself was for years a priest in the diocese of Piraeus, Ignatios became known widely from his weekly Sunday television show Arhontariki where he discussed spiritual and social issues with guests.

A proponent of COVID-19 vaccination from the start, Ignatios is getting tough with the priests of his diocese, demanding in a formal encyclical either vaccination or weekly rapid tests as a precondition for them to conduct religious services, otherwise they will be subjected to disciplinary action.

Illustrating the importance of vax protection with an example that is close to home, Ignatios cited the death of an unvaccinated priest who died at age 56.

“COVID-19, which has caused the death of over 13,000 Greeks has touched the family of our clergy, claiming the lives of two of our extraordinarily good priests,” the encyclical stated.

“For Father John, at the time of his death only protective measures were available [masks, social distancing, hygiene]. Now, however, we have the vaccine, which has proven in practice and empirically, that it protects one from severe illness and death. That is why we consider it a pity that another one of our priests, Father Demetrios, had not been vaccinated and his organism could not withstand the deadly virus.”

Speaking as a spiritual father: ‘Please be vaccinated’ In the encyclical, Ignatios told his priests that he is addressing them in his paternal, pastoral role.