by Bishop Clement of Gardikion
We are going through a great crisis for a year and a half because of the global epidemic of the Coronavirus. The problem, regardless of its origins, is real and humanity is being tested. We Orthodox Christians always face various crises, and the sorrows of life, as times for spiritual self-criticism, improved and deeper repentance, but also strengthening of faith, hope, and love.
However, things develop in such a way, and at such a pace that disturbing phenomena are observed which affect the thoughts and opinions, but also we would say the lives of the faithful of our Flock, as well as our fellow men in general.
The pressures exerted by those who govern to impose mandatory vaccination naturally create a variety of reactions. There is already, unfortunately, a communal divide between the vaccinated and unvaccinated, which, rather than being bridged is further intensified by the increasingly severe governmental measures against those who do not accept to be vaccinated. In light of this sad situation, we humbly express some thoughts for reflection.
The present crisis has been mishandled and continues to be mishandled by those who govern which leads to various reactions. It is known that on a medical, legal, human, ethical level there is a serious, and extensive scientific counterargument against the measures proposed by the appointed experts, and applied by the directors (and vice versa) which is not possible to overlook, or much more, to silence or even to discredit or ignore as if there does not exist a variety of voices in the scientific community.
In the opinion of many faithful doctors, the experimental vaccines used in Greece pose a real bioethical dilemma due to their association with aborted fetal cell lines: two with their use during the research, production, and testing stage; and two with their use during the testing stage after their production. It is worthy of question why other products such as vaccines and pharmaceuticals which exist towards a satisfactory confrontation of Covid19, and which naturally do not raise all the above-mentioned concerns were not preferred, and are still not preferred. Let us not forget that serious and exemplary science is then blessed, and constitutes an irreplaceable service for mankind, when it does not exceed accepted moral boundaries, and it does not act arbitrarily without restrictions.
Besides, it is not possible to raise the question of mandatory vaccinations, when on 22 June 2021 a new Resolution of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe once again declared against mandatory vaccination.
The well-known excuse concerning the “communal responsibility” of the people so that they hasten to impose the vaccination is groundless at a time when no one takes responsibility because those who promoted the vaccines had previously endeavored to receive legal immunity and protection for possible side-effects and deaths, so long as they speak of the “personal responsibility” of each person who is vaccinated.
How truly paradoxical is this stance against those who for reasons of safety and effectiveness, as well as moral principles are legitimately concerned and observe a stance of waiting and hesitation?
The Prime Minister of Greece, in an official audience with representatives of the LGBTQI+ community whom he received with joy, assured them that “in 21st century Greece there is not permitted division among its citizens”! Is this, however, in relation only to those of a particular “orientation,” and not to all Greek citizens?
In fact, the Greek State is attempting to pay off, or coerce the citizens while attacking the most basic human, democratic, and constitutional rights of citizens, in order to achieve what is considered to be “freedom” but is not accepted by the greater portion of our fellow citizens for many and various reasons. Who determines who is “free” and who is “not free,” and on what commonly accepted criteria is this determination based? In Greece, the cradle of Democracy and Civilization, but also of Christianity do we not have formulated criteria with the power and value of millennia? And why are new criteria now being introduced for the most sacred, glorious, and magnificent condition of Freedom?
We believe that every free citizen, and particularly every faithful Christian, cannot help but remain firm on the principle of freedom of choice and oppose obligatory vaccinations. Mandatory vaccinations [see the succinct and prudent Announcement from our Holy Synod of 1/14 August 2021], which are already being implemented, are directly threatening our fellow citizens with exclusion in their places of employment, and in their social life in general. This medical dictatorship is unacceptable and condemnable. There are not first-class, and second-class citizens in a well-governed State which is governed by the principles of equality and justice.
After all that has been said above, we cannot leave without observing that the stance of the “official” New Calendar Church in Greece is heartbreaking. For a century now it has refused to remain faithful in “lesser” things, thereby falling into the Calendar innovation, with the result that it finally fell into “greater” things, such as Ecumenism and Secularism. It supports the Ecumenist Pseudo-Council of Kolymbari (2016) and takes an active part in Ecumenical events as a faithful follower of the Phanariots who are foremost among them. It already awaits with joy the visit of the heresiarch Pope of Rome during which new Ecumenist fiestas will take place. For this reason, it hastened synodically to provide its cemetery churches to the Papists wherever they do not have their own. Previously, it proceeded impermissibly to recognize the schismatics of Ukraine at the command of the neo-Papist Patriarchate of Constantinople, as well as other powers of this world. But since the beginning of this epidemiological crisis it cooperates and supports – as it rightly has been noted – a clearly problematic political (and not only political) system and its representatives have adopted the methods of this system according to their beloved tactic: censorship, lies, the enforcement of experimental products, even making them mandatory. However, this constitutes the greatest ecclesiological straying and falling away, according to Professor George Pavlos.
Since the New Calendarists in Greece have rejected clearly ecclesiastical criteria, and for decades now have fallen into impermissible practices such as the relentless medieval persecutions against our forefathers: the adherents of the Patristic Calendar, they have now reached the point of propagandizing the awful, doubtful choices of those who manage the health crisis, and they have transitioned themselves into State employees as they are, and as they identify themselves, with possibly few exceptions.
We, however, should not be influenced by these “oblique examples,” according to the Confessor St. Theodore the Studite in order to avoid any type of obliqueness, caring for our double confession “according to faith and according to word,” (see his Small Catechism no. 114) and relying on the Divine promises of our Life-giving Lord Jesus Christ. We hold, with God’s help, the saving Faith and Love of Truth, turning away as an abomination every lie and deception.
The Orthodox Christian confrontation of crisis is based primarily on the Eternal Word of God and the faithful observance of His Divine Commandments, certainly without ignoring the attentive, particular human efforts, in as much as they are not autonomous, nor divinized, but they understand, and recognize the boundaries of their abilities, with reverence for time-honoured principles as they have been established in humanity and sealed by Christ our Saviour; when, once again, they were ignored or violated, as is known, the price was fearful and relentless for those who dared to do so.
17/30 August 2021