Twelve priests in Cyprus suspended for refusing vaccination


Southern Europe


Archbishop Chrysostomos II of Cyprus at the Archbishopric of the Greek Orthodox Church in Nicosia, on December 3, 2021 during a visit by Pope Francis. Photo AFP, Andreas Solaro

Twelve priests from the archbishopric district of Nicosia in Cyprus will be suspended because they have not responded to Archbishop Chrysostom's call to be vaccinated against the coronavirus. The three-month period will start on Tuesday.

Chrysostom II told the Cypriot media that most of the suspended priests persuaded the parishioners not to be vaccinated, Russian news agencies Interfax and Ria Novosti report.

Chrysostomos declared that it was unheard of to disobey one's archbishop. He said the priests' compulsory leave could be extended to six months; they could also be removed from office. Chrysostom also expressed the opinion that there are other motives behind the position of some priests, who, according to him, take advantage of his shaky health.


According to Chrysostom, out of 123 priests in the archdiocese, 27 remained unvaccinated. However, 15 of them were vaccinated or received medical exemptions.

Archbishop Chrysostomos has long spoken out in support of the vaccination of the faithful. The synod of the Church of Cyprus also made a clear call for vaccination.

During the pandemic in Cyprus, 731 people have died from the effects of the coronavirus.


Meanwhile, Metropolitan Germanos of the Greek diocese Ilia calls in a strict letter on his region's unvaccinated priests to state why they remain unvaccinated. The hierarch even asks them to document their position, with medical evidence of a hospital, Orthodoxia Info writes.

The hierarch even asks them to document their position, with medical evidence of a hospital, Orthodoxia Info writes.

At the same time, he informs them that if they get sick, being unvaccinated, they will be punished because they will abstain from their duties for no reason. Closing his letter, Mr Germanos again calls on the clergy to be vaccinated.


In Germany, the protestant pastor in the city of Werl, Lutz Wolfestieg, was suspended last week because he is not vaccinated against Covid-19. The reason given for his suspension was that he forms a risk of infecting worshippers with the virus.

Even though Wulfestieg got tested on Covid-19 every day, the presbytery decided that he should be released from all tasks that bring him into contact with other people. That means that he can hardly work.

The pastor stresses that he does not oppose the vaccine. He will be vaccinated when his family doctor tells him the suitable vaccine is available. The pastor would rather receive a vaccine made of dead or weak viruses instead of one based on mRNA.



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