Anti-vax clerics threatened with pay cuts

Cyprus priests pay

The Archbishop of Cyprus has warned priests their pay will be cut if they actively discourage worshippers from getting vaccinated against COVID-19.

Archbishop Chrysostomos II also suggested priests could be removed if they continued preaching the anti-vax message.

“The pandemic is neither a church issue nor a spiritual one – it is a medical issue,” he told state broadcaster, CyBC. Chrysostomos suggested some clerics are entirely “off-subject” by claiming vaccines go against the teachings of the saints.

But there are resisters within the church, notably Morphou Bishop Neophytos, who, despite recently recovering from the virus, said he was against the vaccine.

The bishop said he had asked the Virgin Mary to send the virus his way so that he would be humbled.

Neophytos said he had mild symptoms, and it was like the Virgin Mary gave him leave so that he could rest. He said he was now feeling much better because of that.

Bishop Neophytos also said the vaccination was a ploy by the New World Order to pit those who are vaccinated against those who are not.

Several priests in Morphou communities continue to preach against vaccinations. This has worried church leaders, but they have done nothing about it other than issue warnings to stop, which go unheeded.

Chrysostomos said complaints have been forwarded to the Holy Synod’s secretary. The secretary will be contacting those involved to give them a chance “to apologize to both the Synod and the public they misled and express a different opinion”.

“If they show remorse, the Church will forgive. But if not, they will not be paid at the end of the month,” he told Alpha TV.

“If he doesn’t want the vaccine, let him not get the vaccine. If he wants to die, let him die. But there is no reason why he should be able to mislead others, risking more victims,” said Chrysostomos.

Cyprus’ health minister Michalis Hadjipantela said the east Mediterranean island nation has achieved the milestone of having 80% of the population receive at least one shot of a COVID-19 vaccine.

It is expected that 80% of citizens will be fully vaccinated within two or three weeks. But a recent opinion poll showed that 13% of Cypriots are either reluctant to get vaccinated against COVID-19 or oppose it entirely.




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