Saturday, September 18, 2021

Met. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos to the murderous unvaccinated

A Pastoral Encyclical to Clergy Regarding Protective Measures Against the Coronavirus Pandemic (sourced from here).

Dear Fathers and Brothers

As you know, our country and the whole world has been suffering for more than a year and a half from the so-called health crisis, SARS-CoV-2, that causes infection and the disease of Covid-19. 

In this matter the state takes the appropriate measures, coordinating with the world organizations for the health of its citizens, and the Church treats this matter with seriousness, sobriety and responsibility. 

Among the measures to prevent infection and disease, and perhaps one of the most important, is the vaccine, as is the case with many other diseases. The standing Holy Synod took specific decisions on this issue: 

On January 13, 2021, it decided: The Holy Synod "closely monitors the issue of vaccinations, through the Synodal Committee on Bioethics, which, with its continuous reports, informs the Synod. In this context, the Holy Synod was informed that, following an investigation, the Covid-19 vaccines currently used in our country do not require the use of embryonic cell cultures for their production. 

On the occasion of the above information, the Holy Synod reiterates, especially to those of its members who show a special sensitivity to the scenarios of threats and dangers, based unilaterally and uncontrollably on inflated news reports especially found either on the internet or permeating with various prejudices, that the choice of vaccination is not so much a theological or ecclesiastical issue, but mainly medical-scientific and is a free personal choice of each person in communication with his doctor, without the vaccination constituting a reduction in life." (Press Release of the Holy Synod 1/13/2021). 

On July 14, 2021, it decided: "The Holy Synod of the Church of Greece, knowing that vaccination is a maximum act of responsibility towards fellow human beings, recommends to all, in coordination with their physicians, to make use of the gift granted to us by God, to protect themselves, but also every human being "for whom Christ died" (Rom. 14:15). And it wants to authentically assure that this vaccine does not come into any contradiction with the Hagiographic, Patristic and Canonical teaching of our Holy Church" (Synodal Encyclical 3074/1365 - 7/14/2021). 

Because we are not an unorganized body, but a "good army" (1 Tim. 1:18) and we must obey the decisions of the Holy Synod, that is why we must be in tune with what is decided by the Holy Synod. 

This practically means that we should not be indifferent to the treatment of this disease, that is why we should make use of the vaccine, unless a doctor who monitors the health of each and every one of you and is scientifically qualified decides something different. 

However, I consider it unacceptable to treat the coronavirus vaccine with para-theological arguments, political expediencies and conspiracy theories, which are directed at clergy and Christians. It is one thing to have a scientific dialogue and scientific dispute for the improvement on how we can confront the virus, within the scientific bodies, which is an appropriate act, and it is another thing to resist the vaccine with para-theological and conspiratorial views, which unfortunately are being quickly distributed in social networks and are causing confusion among Christians. 

I have observed that the anti-vaccination movement in America is prevalent within fundamentalist extremist Protestant circles and among people possessed by various principles of Eastern religions. I do not want to refer here to people who have other personal, political and economic interests. 

Unfortunately, what is sometimes expressed by these fundamentalist Protestant circles in America is also conveyed to the people of the Orthodox Church, without them realizing that all this is lacking a basis on theology and the ecclesiastical consciousness. It is unfortunate that many who have an anti-vaccine mentality are distinguished by a lack of serious theological thought, ecclesiological consciousness and, ultimately, serious scientific arguments. 

I read what is written against vaccines and I am surprised by the confusion of such thoughts and writings, but also by the question, because "common sense is thought to be common." Unfortunately, such confusion prevails, so that what is written in one paragraph is annulled in the other, so their thoughts are not clear. The scientific is intertwined with the "metaphysical", theology with para-theology, Christology with Antichristology and Demonology. 

However, science is not a religion or a para-religion, but it is judged by scientific criteria, just as Orthodox theology has nothing to do with fantasies and extremisms. All this is dominated by error, which comes from the deluded mind. And as the empirical theologians say, it is easy to be deceived, but difficult to be undeceived, to get rid of error. 

As clergy we are obliged to observe the health measures, so that we do not become a cause and occasion for the Christians whom we shepherd to be infected, because in such a case they turn against the Church and we are responsible. 

I would like to point out that Saint Nikodemos the Hagiorite has ruled twice at least, from what I know, that when a pandemic occurs, if a Christian does not pay attention and becomes the cause of death, he must be penanced as a murderer. 

Specifically, in his Rudder (footnote to the 66th Apostolic Canon) he writes: "Note also that anyone is condemned as a murderer that in time of a plague or pestilence goes to houses or towns and infects others when he well knows that he himself is infected and thus becomes the cause of many deaths." 

In his Handbook on Confession (On the Sixth Commandment) he writes: "Thou shalt not murder. They commit a wrong against this commandment ... who in time of plague, while knowing they are infected, comes together with others and infects them. They are risk takers, for they murder themselves and all the others." 

This is why I recommend to the spiritual fathers to ask those who come to them for confession, among other things: "Do you know if while you were infected with the plague you were among others and infected someone who died? Because if that is the case then I have to penance you as a murderer." 

You understand, then, the seriousness of the issue. Whoever in a time of a pandemic, as in our time, does not pay attention and infects others, they are judged with the penance of murder! One basic way to protect ourselves and others is to be vaccinated, as is the case with other diseases. 

If your personal doctor, knowing your medical history, advises you not to get the vaccine, it does not mean that you should not take the other necessary measures, and of course it does not mean that you would advise Christians not to get vaccinated. In such a case, you will have to answer to God, according to what the great teacher of the Church, Saint Nikodemos the Hagiorite, writes. 

Please take the above seriously and do not be indifferent to this serious issue, because, among other things, you will be presented in practice as differentiating yourself from the Synodal and Hierarchical system of our Church. 

Let us pray to God to give us physical and spiritual health, especially prudence, discernment and inner peace, which are so necessary in our time, so that we do not end up in extreme situations. 

With warm prayers,


Metropolitan of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou 


  1. Our host can delete comments, but he can't delete the error of his thinking or rhetoric. I'm going to print this Encyclical out for and place it in the narthex info table tomorrow morning. Clearly more of the Faithful need to take note of this para-theological Protestant insurrection taking place with American Orthodoxy ;)

    1. The original commentary was removed because it didn't add anything to the post; it could stand on its own. So your comment made no sense without it and was removed. As a guest, I do ask you to use measured words and be respectful.

    2. Understood, my language was "direct" (to choose a term ;)) - many would feel it was too direct no doubt and I stand corrected.

  2. Conveniently ignoring the priests bishops and monks of Greece who have spoken out against this situation and blaming it on western protestant thinking.

    That's nice, definitely winning hearts and minds with this one.

    Also apparently accusing the entire history of the Church's saints and faithful of committing murder as they did not stop attending services or refrain from contact with their fellow human beings during times of actual plague, and even flu pandemics far worse than this.

    What's clear above all else is that this has been the most successful campaign of division in our lifetime, if not history. Its the masked vs the unmasked. The vaccinated vs the unvaccinated. The compliant vs the noncompliant.

    We've let them turn us against each other while they continue to turn the free world into a gulag.

    Australia is just ahead of the curve, once more a prison colony.

    1. I'm very grateful that our jurisdiction in the US (along with most) has made it a priority to minimize infighting and disunity around this issue among its faithful in these extremely divisive times. Sometimes I'm frustrated that they won't just proclaim MY opinion, but their wisdom is evident in its fruits.

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  3. Remember when Metropolitan Hierotheos wasn't a joke?

  4. These kind of hierarchy just ignore the "GOD GIVEN GIFT OF FREEDOM OF CHIOCE" AMAZING!

  5. Seems the Rudder is only used to fulfill ones agenda.There are many many canons that are not fully fulfilled in Orthodoxy if one wants to be technical about it.

  6. This Metropolitan used to be a staunch defender of traditional Orthodoxy and the true patristic Phronema. He has fallen from a great height. A one time protégé of Fr. John Romanides, he is now closer to the clowns at Fordham. It really started to fall apart for him when he recognized as legitimate, the laymen in Ukraine who call themselves the OCU. How very sad.

  7. "...Remember when Metropolitan Hierotheos wasn't a joke?..."

    "...This Metropolitan used to be a staunch defender of traditional Orthodoxy and the true patristic Phronema..."

    For years he was a traditionalist darling. Perhaps his peak for the Libertarian Orthodox was when he refused to sign a couple of the documents of the Crete synaxis, clearly (well, as clearly as he says anything) stating why he could not agree with them. He fell from grace when he did not go along with MP's judgment of the canonical situation in Ukraine in particular, and "Orthodoxy is an ecclesiastical federation" thought in general. Some were willing to forgive him however, positing that he was just being a good Greek, and we all have our ethnic biases.

    Now that he is rejecting Protestant para-theology as a legitimate source for Orthodoxy moral thought on viruses, vectors, and vaccines, surely this sin can not be forgiven ;) I mean, the man even has the gumption to cite and argue from Traditional sources! :)

    1. I get the sense you're trying to make this ephemeral vaccine a matter of doctrine. The vaccinated are not just "anti-science"; they're heretics, schismatics.

    2. "...vaccine a matter of doctrine..."

      Well, Met. Hierotheos and obviously St. Nikodemos make it a matter of moral doctrine. For something to rise to the level of heresy it has to at least be *coherent*, but as Met. Hierotheos notes this para-theology is fundamentally incoherent:

      "...distinguished by a lack of serious theological thought, ecclesiological consciousness and, ultimately, serious scientific arguments..."

      Heresy can at least be rationally *refuted*, but this Neo-theology around vaccines, naves and spoons, and the like are just a collection of ungrounded and disparate assertions. It's two primary sources as near as I can tell are:

      1) A collection of unexamined Protestant assumptions about human freedom, "conscience" before God, and the implications of these to ecclisology and community...AND...Post Christian (i.e. secular) conceptions of human freedom, moral obligation, centered perhaps on Locke and his Christian imitators (on both the left and right).

      2) Strongly felt instincts and anxiety that any practical adjustment of ordo to, well any reality (.e.g spoons and viruses), is nothing less (or more) a crack into which flows the spirit of the age, such as ecumenism, LBGTQwerty, and the like.

      Not sure there is an actual heresy in there, at least not if/until it gels into a more distinct form. I keep asking if anyone can *rational* argue for this para-theology from traditional sources, rather than simply assert "one spoon is Holy Dogma!" or "I have (Orthodox??) rights vis-a-vis vaccination and communal worship!" Perhaps when someone actually does this it might then rise to the level of heresy...

    3. No, it's his absurd stance on the OCU and the EP's papal pretensions that is his major downfall. Vaccine crap is way behind that in terms of importance. He was willing to stand up to the EP at Crete, but when it comes defending the Ukrainian people, he doesn't care. Screw them, they're not Greeks.

    4. Metropolitan Hierotheos is at least consistent. The reason he stood up against the Crete texts was because the EP had gone way too far trying to appease the disagreements of the local churches and especially the Church of Russia. His most pointed criticisms of the preconciliar meetings before Crete were that the Church of Russia had been continually trying to undermine and take control of those meetings and texts. In the end, the Crete texts were finally agreed upon by the Church of Russia in the last preconciliar meeting. However, Metropolitan Hierotheos' main objection was that the texts at that point had become excessively diplomatic in nature rather than theological statements. Mostly he blamed the Church of Russia for this.

      It was no suprise then that Metropolitan Hierotheos would take a hard stance in favor of the EP "drawing the line" with the Church of Russia in Ukraine. By the way, last I checked the Ukrainians of the OCU are not Greeks.

    5. Metropolitan Hierotheos specifically said that several of the documents had theological, ecclesiological, and anthropoligical issues:

      Yes, he blames Russia for the fact that the autocephaly document got dropped, though that of course ignores the fact that Russia was far from alone in its position...

  8. It really is heart breaking that the Metropolitan has gone from a thoroughly patristic Orthodox calling Orthodox Christians murderers for rejecting the gene therapy jab.

    Lord have mercy!

  9. The vaccine does not prevent infection or transmission so you are uninformed. mRNA is a messenger RNA meaning it has a code to instruct your bodily cells to create the spike protein of the virus. So if you get sick the claim is your symptoms will be less severe. Remember the 'gain of function " research is to weaponize a virus so it affects humans and is more contagious and virulent. You may want the spike protein of a bioweapon made by your cells within your body but others may not.

  10. Not wise to make it a doctrine. And one spreads a disease if they are sick, regardless of vaccination status. So a vaccinated person may think he's not spreading it if he has a minor case of COVID, but he could infect an unvaccinated person, causing the unvaccinated person to become seriously sick and die, making the vaccinated person a murderer?

  11. There is a very subtle elision here (and in Met. Joseph's similar comments in one of his sermons last year referencing the same canon) from "those who know they are infected and infects others" to "anyone who infects anyone at all".

    And of course, Met. H takes it even further, and equates even "people who don't pay attention and take all the precautions" to these.

    By these rules, we should have all been staying home every flu season, every year, unless we accidentally catch it, transmit it before we realize it, and someone die.

    Also, if I take a medical treatment, knowing that there is a risk of it killing me, and I die, am I then considered a suicide? Am I then a "risk taker"?

    At least for murder there is penance. For suicide, not so much.

    Or if a person who would not have otherwise done so is bound under this Met's directive and takes the jab at his behest, and dies from it, is the Met. then responsible for that person's death? Is he now the murderer?

    1. "... we should have all been staying home every flu season, every year, unless we accidentally catch it, transmit it before we realize it, and someone die..."

      That's a strange conclusion to reach. The more sensical one would be to get the flu vaccine, unless you have a good reason not to get it, which 92,94,96% of folks don't.

      "...Or if a person who would not have otherwise done so is bound under this Met's directive and takes the jab at his behest, and dies from it, is the Met. then responsible for that person's death?..."

      If a state senator passes a seat belt law, and when a person dies in a collision due to their seat belt (if they did not have it on they would have likely lived), is the politician a murderer? it's not if - it's when as seat belts kill a handful of folks every year, but on the other hand save approximately 15,000 during the year.

      If a supreme court justice votes to overturn Roe vs. Wade, and when (not if) some women dies (perhaps she is killed by her enraged father, or perhaps she dies during child birth) who otherwise would have had an abortion, is said supreme morally responsible?

      One thing fur sure, the Libertarian Orthodox will keep moving the terms around in their moral calculus until they get what they *desire*, because well that's the instinct/habit. St. Silouan said "my brother is my life", but that sort of (basic Orthodox) ecclesiastical consciousness is not only foreign to the Protestant mind, but actually offensive - the Protestant mind is fundamentally committed to radical individuality.

      There is no perfect morality this side of the Eschaton. As St. Paul explained, the (moral) Law is not enough. If a person is seeking a moral flaw in vaccines, medicine, seat belts, looking both ways when crossing the street, one can find it. Somewhere, sometime, somehow tragedy occurs from any and all moral effort/life. An anti-ecclesial "my conscience before God" mind seems to think this *justifies* their individuality (i.e. God justifies them).

    2. First off, are you in support of abortion? Because your analogy clearly is.

      More to the point, the vaccines dont stop the spread of COVID or reduce the death toll. You can get COVID, spread COVID, and die from COVID while fully vaccinated. That's documented evidence that even CNN reports on. 74% of new COVID cases in Boston were fully vaccinated individuals. There's even increasing evidence that the fully vaccinated carry more viral load than unvaccinated.

      The science is constantly being updated, which is what happens when you rush a vaccine which would normally take much longer to be tested and produced safely.

      If you believe that there is no perfect morality, then are you justifying immorality? And by that same note, how can you condemn someone's choice if there is no perfect choice?

      You praise a bishop who supports your opinion, and condemn those who disagree as "libertarian" which is a cheap way of labeling anyone you dont agree with.

      What about bishops who disagree with this view and aren't from America? Are they all libertarians? Protestant western minded?

      You are far too smug sir, it doesn't convince anyone of your views.

    3. Yes. When one has to resort to calling anyone who doesn't agree with them of having a "protestant mind"...then you know they don't have a valid point. belts do not cause trillions of spike proteins to travel through the body and settle in the internal organs.

  12. I think the general point of His Eminence's letter is being missed here.

    People are seeking their own authority on this question, rather than looking to where they should be. "Deep State" Conspiracy ideology permeates the "anti-vax" movement, and it is this ideology that His Eminence is calling out and denouncing.

    For every vaccine, there is a certain percentage of the population who can't take it, due to allergies or medical complications. The controversy and issues that arose when such vaccines (and many other medical procedures) we take for granted were first rolled out have gone down the historical memory hole.

    Where there is ignorance, fear and conspiracy find a home. Many people are not sure about these vaccines, because they are 1st Gen and the technology may not be understood. 1st Gen ANYTHING can have issues, and there is real hesitancy among some people. I think that is honest, and such honest reluctance should be understood and helped.

    What is reprehensible, is how "Deep State" Conspiracy theorists and para-theologians (His Eminence's characterization of this stuff is spot on) have used those fears to further their own "brand." Taking Holy Elders out of context and distorting their words to support these ideologies is nothing new----St. Paisios is the big modern example (and he lamented it during his time on earth).

    People are looking for "spiritual fathers" who support their views, which is not Orthodox. They don't like what their Bishops are saying, so they "shop" for new bishops who will affirm their pre-concieved notions. THAT is what His Eminence is talking about. Even the Moscow Patriarchate encourages vaccination, and Metropolitan Hilarion has more or less said the same thing His Eminence Hierotheos is saying here. Is Metropolitan Hilarion part of the "Deep State"?

    "Individual freedom" has become an idol in American life, an idolatry that is foreign to Orthodoxy. I would not call it a Protestant mind, but Protestantism birthed it. I would call it "Americanism."

    Like the Jehovah's Witnesses, their failed predictions are forgotten, and the News Cycle "moves on." This is the incoherence His Eminence highlights. Definitely "of another spirit."

    I am also saddened by the inflammatory title of this blog entry, which is a distortion of what His Eminence is trying to say.

  13. "Even the Moscow Patriarchate encourages vaccination, and Metropolitan Hilarion has more or less said the same thing His Eminence Hierotheos is saying here."

    And they are all sadly mistaken and delusional. If there were only one Bishop left in the world who counseled the faithful against this demonic inoculation, the Orthodox faithful would still follow him (like another St Mark of Ephesus).

  14. Mikail,

    Read what you just wrote. This is exactly what His Eminence is talking about in this Pastoral Letter. The fact that the EP and MP are UNITED on this issue should be cause for reflection. The Holy Synods of our Church have spoken (even the "traditionalist" ones) on this issue. Where is this disobedience coming from? That is the question His Eminence's letter encourages us to think about.

  15. Dave,

    I know what I wrote. These Hierarchs are mistaken. Abortive fetal tissue cells were used in the testing and/or production of the so-called vaccines. It is not blessed by God. These men are not infallible and it is my duty (along with thousands if other Orthodox Christians) to oppose their unfortunate opinions.

    1. Mikail,

      You've obviously made up your mind, but your characterization of the vaccine as demonic has implications----if our hierarchs support something demonic, what does that make them?

      I think people in general do not think through the full import of their words. There are different vaccines out there, and the "abortion link" has its own problems:

      This post written by a Catholic priest points out the problems with the absolutist position (while he himself is a conscientious objector on abortion connected medical procedures).

      So if the "HEK-293 argument" fails, what else is there? I see all sorts of stuff about "killer spike proteins" and how the vaccine is a ticking time bomb that will cause many people to die in a few years. The goal posts keep moving, and I think the current line is that it is a "placebo with adverse effects" that is part of the larger plan to move "advocates of freedom" into ghettos---"Great Reset," etc etc.

      The sad thing here, is that there are people of good will who have reasons for postponing taking the vaccine (Our hierarchs have been firm in respecting such honest concerns). Those reasons are drowned out or consumed by this "Deep State" conspiracy ideology, or End Times hysteria. That is what His Eminence is addressing here and condemning.

      Not trusting the vaccine because it is 1st Gen is reasonable. Not trusting the vaccine because of black helicopter talk is madness.

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  17. "if our hierarchs support something demonic, what does that make them?"

    Hierarchs have had very wrong opinions in the past and have even supported heresies. This is nothing new.

    "This post written by a Catholic priest"

    An inordinate number of Catholic clergy have joined our Hierarchs in an attempt to justify the abortion link to these inoculations. Very sad.

    "So if the "HEK-293 argument" fails"

    It does not fail. Abortion is abortion. It is not blessed by God.

    "I see all sorts of stuff about "killer spike proteins" and how the vaccine is a ticking time bomb"

    Many renowned doctors, epidemiologist, and virologists have great concerns. Time will tell.

    "The sad thing here, is that there are people of good will who have reasons for postponing taking the vaccine"

    Including religious exemptions? Do the Hierarchs approve those?

    "Not trusting the vaccine because it is 1st Gen is reasonable."


  18. "..."Individual freedom" has become an idol in American life, an idolatry that is foreign to Orthodoxy. I would not call it a Protestant mind, but Protestantism birthed it. I would call it "Americanism."..."

    David B., I believe it is more accurate to say that America was founded on this Idol (i.e. Lockean liberty and the theological anthropology behind it). For much of our history it is true this idol was somewhat balanced by the counterforce of the protestant consensus and civil institutions, but both of those countervailing forces died in the culture/sexual revolution in the sixties.

    As far as vaccines and all the cargo cult scientists, current suspicion of expertise/competency and elites, I found the below post by Dreher helpful. The litany of sins listed really struck me - how is an person (who does not have competency any area, say virology/epidemiology) going to trust the "expert" when the experts have so often proven untrustworthy?