Rev. Evagoras Constantinides, the Dean at the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of Saints Constantine and Helen in Brooklyn, New York, said in a post on his Facebook page that he’s refusing to write religious exemption letters for people who don’t want to take the Coronavirus vaccine.
According to his post, he’s been asked several times.
“I’ve been asked several times to write a letter of ‘religious exemption’ to get people out of getting the COVID vaccine,” Constantinides stated.
“Plainly stated, there is no Orthodox religious exemption for this,” he continued.
Citing an interview that featured Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, he justified his position stating “Our Patriarch clearly articulated that today in an interview.”
According to Bartholomew, “The refusal of vaccination and other protection measures is irrational and unjustified by theological or scientific criteria. I have said from the beginning that the pandemic threatens our faithful, but not our faith. It is true that a large number of believers who refuse protection measures are victims of this virus. That is why it is unacceptable to deny the existence of a pandemic, to regard it as created by someone, or to spread conspiracy theories in the face of so many victims and so much suffering. Unfortunately, this attitude shows indifference to others. However, anything that contradicts the commandment to love one’s neighbor cannot be the will of God. The Church of Constantinople urges the faithful to consult with their doctors and to vaccinate according to their instructions. Naturally, all of us at Fanari, including me, were vaccinated.”
Bartholomew joins a growing number of religious leaders speaking out in favor of vaccinations in an effort to overcome skepticism and a flurry of fake news that is prevalent on social media platforms about the vaccines.
Roman Catholic Pope Francis created a public service video advertisement calling vaccination “an act of love.”
“Being vaccinated with vaccines authorized by the competent authorities is an act of love. And contributing to ensure the majority of people are vaccinated is an act of love.”
He added: “Vaccination is a simple but profound way of promoting the common good and caring for each other, especially the most vulnerable.”
In an admonition to his parishioners and followers on Facebook, Constantinides concluded his post with an encouragement to get vaccinated.
“Please do not ask for religious exemption letters anymore. Get vaccinated!”
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