Orthodox Christian COVID Heroes
To say the office of bishop is important in the Orthodox Church might be something of an understatement:
…The Bishop is the visible head of the Church, of the Body of Christ. He is the one who will speak the word of truth and be the criterion of truth. The sacred Canons, therefore, regard the Bishop as the eye of the Church. The Bishop is obliged to lead and teach his flock, including the monks, on the basis of the ecclesiastical tradition, so that they may walk in the way of salvation. (Source: Orthodox Monasticism as the Way of Life of Prophets, Apostles, and Martyrs by Metropolitan of Nafpaktos Hierotheos).
One QA response on the OCA website referred to the office of bishop this way, “The bishop is the highest office since the bishop is the one responsible to guide the life of the church, to guard the faith and to preserve the unity of the churchly body in truth and love.”
There is no Orthodox Church absent the office of bishop. Yet, the past almost two years have led to an unprecedented conflict and mistrust between many of our Orthodox faithful and their bishops. We have covered that in gruesome detail on this site – acquiescence to government mandates (including mandatory jabs), outright promotion of the experimental jabs, “absentee” fatherhood, changes to the practice of Orthodoxy, and extreme acts of ecumenism are just some examples of episcopal actions that alienated large numbers of faithful Orthodox Christians. There has been a stunning incongruity between the necessity of the office and the exercise of that office by many who hold it. That has resulted in some leaving the church, others have begun speculating on life in the catacombs (possibly without even the Holy Eucharist), still others are switching jurisdictions, while more than a few fight on for Christ in their own quiet ways.
The situation has gotten so bad that we almost take it for granted when Orthodox bishops do things that only a short time ago would have been shocking. The Church of Greece has mandated ineffective, harmful, and demonic jabs for all Greeks over 60. Greece announced on Nov. 18 that churchgoers must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test, proof of vaccination or proof of a previous infection to attend worship. Not too long ago, we would have expected the Synod of Greece to have pushed back forcefully on such government tyranny. Now? We are not even surprised when bishops simply go along. For example, Zakynthos Metropolitan Dionysios suspended 14 priests who refused to be “jabbed.” He permanently removed one of the 14 priests and gave the rest a deadline to get jabbed. Being jabbed with an experimental mRNA “vaccine” is now a requirement to be a priest, according to His Eminence.
The news out of Greece joins the previous announcement from His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros and his synod as a betrayal of the Orthodox faithful. GOARCH priests have been instructed to refuse support to parishioners who are seeking religious exemptions for the COVID jabs. In their hour of great need, parishioners in the Greek Archdiocese are being told to look for help elsewhere.
Fortunately for us in the United States, clergy support is not usually needed for a religious exemption (see religious exemption explanation here and click here to address HR questions on exemptions). Even better, courts are now striking down the mandates from OSHA affecting employees of larger companies and from Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) targeted at health care workers. Thank God for courageous judges!
Such relief from the relentless drive to vaccinate every human is especially important as we continue to discover how harmful the jabs really are – both physically and spiritually. In mid-November 2021 came a report in the medical journal Circulation that two doses of the mRNA jab more than doubles your chances of Acute Coronary Syndrome – an umbrella term covering heart attacks and a range of other conditions involving abruptly reduced blood flow to your heart. Think COVID was hard on the health system? What about when 1 out of every 4 of the double-jabbed end up hospitalized with heart conditions? Such adverse effects may explain why research has found that the higher the vaccination rate in an area, the higher the excess mortality. Spiritually, we are being warned that taking the jab embroils us in the demonic and threatens to alter our very nature as humans.
Despite all the evidence and warnings, we are still suffering a lack of Orthodox episcopal leadership. One priest, who serves under a bishop with whom he profoundly disagrees on the jabs and COVID restrictions, sent us the following:
Respected Bishop, you are called to defend your flock! When will you, who vowed “to lay down my life for the Orthodox faith/truth and my flock,” speak out! Even if Ab Elpidoforos and Patriarchate Bartholomew don’t like it, being as they and the Pope are together in LOCKSTEP with the Global Elites? Where is your leadership? Can you see we are being scandalized because you still seem too timid to go against the current of sin? Are you a hypocrite who says to some with families, “Don’t be so concerned about monies” when you have no wife or children but show signs of being not much more than a scared rabbit?
Which bishop can any God-seeking looking into Orthodoxy trust when you certainly don’t want to risk your comforts? We need LEADERS with at least some level of a pure & courageous heart like Cardinal Vigano. We need somebody to have the courage for us that a “heretic” bishop [Vigano] has. He is, in this respect, far more like the Church Fathers than you are. We need a HERO! Won’t one of you miter wearers, be one?
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Before we get too despondent as Orthodox Christians, we should pause a moment and understand that we have real episcopal heroes (and possible future saints) fighting for us right now. God has assured us, “The prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” (Jam 5:16) Even better for us, thanks be to God, we have more than just one.
Orthodox COVID Heroes
Metropolitan Makarios of Kenya – His Eminence has built over 150 churches in Kenya. He lives in a small room in an orphanage. Despite his age, he maintains a full schedule of tending to his ever growing flock. His Eminence has strongly advised against taking the COVID jabs. His Eminence believes the jabs are not necessary and are immoral due to their connection to abortion. We highly recommend this video interview of His Eminence. His Eminence has also rejected the jab mandates, “No government or Church can force vaccinations!” Everyone, Orthodox and non-Orthodox alike, should listen to His Eminence and think deeply, prayerfully upon his words. While you are at it, you might also prayerfully consider why Africa, where less than 5% of the population has received even one COVID jab, is actually doing much better than any other continent.
Metropolitan of Kythera & Antikythera Seraphim – Metropolitan Seraphim of Kythira was arrested on March 21st, 2020 in Greece. His crime? He was accused of opening the doors of the temple to everyone wanting to attend, and of having the bell rung before the service. His Eminence has continued to decry constraints put on the Orthodox Church. In a March 2021 sermon at the Church of the Mother of God in Myrtidiotissa, Metropolitan Seraphim noted that “just as we do not close hospitals and sanatoriums, we must not close churches. Indeed, who has calculated the spiritual damage that believers endure when they live outside the Divine Eucharist? Who can rate this?”
Metropolitan Seraphim has been quoted as saying the COVID epidemic has intensified due to the closure of churches. His Eminence has also publicly stated, “I, as your Bishop, tell you that I will not vaccinate.”
Bishop George of Canberra Auxiliary Bishop Australia-New Zealand Diocese Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia – In an epistle, His Grace had this to say:
“There are some Orthodox hierarchs who condone taking the vaccines, even though they contain fetal cells, or are derived from fetal cells, thereby being a direct product of abortion. In good conscience, as an Orthodox Christian, I cannot agree with this view and cannot condone it. However, considering that there are some Orthodox hierarchs who do allow these vaccines, and considering the great fear campaign that is being waged by the governments and the media, I can understand if people do decide to get vaccinated. People also need to know that many of those who are getting vaccinated are dying or experiencing severe side effects. We must be aware of what we are doing. Whatever our personal choice is in this matter, we must still live as Orthodox Christians, loving and encouraging one another, being an example of Christian love and piety both to those in our Church communities and to others. Let us re-focus our priorities and focus more on our own spiritual life, not just on preserving our physical life in this sinful world, so when the time comes that God summons us to the next life, we may be able to give a good account of our life here on earth, time in which we should be repenting and preparing ourselves spiritually for eternity. We should remember that whether we get sick from the virus or not is up to God, and when and how we die is up to God, not determined by a virus. Let us ask God to give us repentance, the “vaccine” for eternity, as Metropolitan Onouphry of Kiev has expressed it, so that we will be able to live and die as good Orthodox Christians.
Bishop Siluan the Bishop of the Metropolitante of Australia and New Zealand of the The Serbian Orthodox Church – In an Archpastoral Reflection, His Grace had this to say concerning the jabs and jab mandates:
Orthodox Christians, for example, have a moral issue accepting vaccines that have been developed from cell lines that were obtained from tissues harvested from aborted fetuses. The issue of ethical concerns for such vaccines was raised last year by some of the major Christian jurisdictions in Australia, such as the Roman Catholic, the Anglican and Greek Orthodox Archdioceses.
Therefore, the moral concerns of Christians should be taken into consideration, as they are not simply subjective views, but derive from the fundamental positions and core beliefs of the Church.
That is why our faithful may appeal to this, our Archpastoral letter, and other statements of the Orthodox Church as to why they are unable to receive these particular vaccines.
I would also like to mention as a great concern the alarming prospects of the introduction of Vaccine Passports. I believe that this will lead to a two-tiered society, it will divide people, families, and friends and will provide a basis for acts of discrimination and ostracization…
In relation to this, media reports have also mentioned that “Churches will be required to use Vaccination Certificate Systems for Vaccinated-ONLY Worship”?!?
This is totally foreign to the Spirit of the Church, to the ecclesiology, the Holy Gospel and Tradition of the Church. We could never accept or adopt such a practice! It would entail discrimination against those who are members of the same Body, The Body of Christ, His Holy Church. How can we go against the Gospel? Against Christ who exclaims: “Come to Me, all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Mathew 11:28).
We cannot accept the polarisation of the faithful, it goes against the very nature of the Church and we will not be implementing this system in our churches.
The Church embraces all who seek Christ, those vaccinated and unvaccinated. It will seek to heal a wounded and heavy-laden society, not inflict new wounds and burdens.
Metropolitan Neophytos of Morphou – In December 2020, Met. Neophytos explained that he would not accept the state’s order to close churches in Greece, as the Law of God is above the law of man. The government attempted to fine His Eminence and 10 others in connection with the Liturgy and Blessing of the Waters served at the Church of St. Marina in the village of Evrychou on January 6 after police showed up and found attendees unmasked and more than 75 people in the church, in violation of the state’s restrictions in force at that time. Leading up to Pascha in 2021, His Eminence said this about the jabs and masks:
They’re using this illness, which does exist and we’re all living it, it is the result of all our sins, all people and all nations. They’re scaring people with masks, double & triple masking maybe tomorrow, also with vaccines that haven’t been properly researched.
Many scientists are talking about Genetically modified vaccines, what does this mean? Children will be injected, girls injected will become sterile and babies being born will have many different abnormalities, physical disabilities, respiratory disorders, Down syndrome, anemia and many more.
Do you realize what the Fear of God is? We only need the Fear of God and whatever other fears we have about how and when we’ll leave Earth, it’s up to God. God tells us during our funeral service.
Please note that His Eminence was speaking at a time before the jabs were approved for children.
Metropolitan of Kalavrita and Egialia Ieronymos – In a sermon at Vespers at the church of the Entry of the Virgin, His Eminence Metropolitan Ieronymos was interrupted by applause twice as he decried the testing requirements to enter church. His Eminence appeared determined not to accept further state restrictions on how the faithful would enter the temple, even if he needed to go to prison.
Those who rule us must now realize that this is the Greece of Saints… The Greeks gave their blood to glorify the name of the Triune God. We can no longer live this suffering, this mockery, this lie. Let those who govern our Homeland understand that Greece is Orthodoxy and the Greeks are always united with Jesus Christ (…) We live in difficult times. Our faith is persecuted, we did not want to believe it but we see that the family is dissolved, Christ is persecuted, our children are led to loss and sin. And instead of saying that in the church they will find the “precious treasure”, they come and tell us that in order to enter we have to do a rapid test! But we, the priests, the monks and the despots, also turned our backs on God. We do not believe him, we became traitors to our Church.
These words are especially important because His Eminence originally complied with much of the government’s program of anti-COVID mitigation measures. His Eminence clearly demonstrates that it is possible for the governing authorities to push too far.
Abbot Tryphon – While we may be short on hero hierarchs in North America, we still have heroes. Abbot Tryphon is one of the most followed Orthodox clerics in America. Abbot Tryphon has equated taking the COVID jabs with abandoning his faith in God. This was probably the last straw that cost him his popular presence on Ancient Faith Radio. Fortunately for all of us, the Abbot has moved on to another platform.
There are more heroes behind-the-scenes in North America. We have learned that there is at least one bishop in the United States that has been quietly assisting Orthodox Christians in getting religious exemptions. Plus, a priest wrote in recently indicating that he personally knows of priests and bishops who have serious moral objections to the jabs. This continues the reports we have had from OCA clergy and from the Burning Bush Brotherhood that many clergy do not support making Pfizer more billions at the expense of our souls and bodies.
Why Listen to Those Hierarchs?
You might be under the jurisdiction of a bishop that totally disagrees with what the men above are saying. That might lead you to question – why listen to these men and not to your own pro-jab hierarch? Within Orthodoxy, all bishops are equal in respect to their office. All are successors to the apostles. But while the office may be equal, the men holding the office are not. Some are more spiritual. Some are more discerning. Some are better speakers. Others are better writers. And some are really more akin to church bureaucrats than to saints.
Father Kosmas wrote in his article For the Orthodox Faithful who are Confused About COVID Vaccines:
Today, the majority of bishops are administrators, as they have not reached at least a state of illumination. Therefore, they are not able to properly discern right from wrong in many theological and moral issues. As such, these administrators should humbly follow the grace-filled bishops and elders who have reached a high level of spirituality. Unfortunately, so many do not (due to their pride), and this would explain why so many bishops have easily accepted Ecumenism, Covidism, mass vaccination and very soon, vaccine passports.
Bishops with less grace and discernment are supposed to listen to those who are more illumined. This is obviously not happening, as you can tell by the fact that this article was even necessary. If the world’s Orthodox synods were either full of men like those above, or at least listening to such men when making decisions, then we, the truly faithful Orthodox, would follow them to the Gates of Hell.
Irrespective of the failings of any hierarchs, the Holy Spirit is speaking to us loud and clear. Both through these heroes of the faith, and through other Holy Fathers – both alive and reposed. Our Lord said we would know a tree by the fruit it bears. The fruits of Covidism and the jabs are physical injury, death, bitterness, division, hatred of the unvaxxed, loss of natural rights, and oppression of God’s Holy Church.
With the rise of “Omicron” it should be clear to everyone that there is no intention on the part of the demonic forces of letting up their relentless march towards an anti-Christian New World Order. Going forward, there will always be a new “variant,” a new “crisis” to justify ever tightening control over society. The demands will only escalate as they have in places such as Austria and Australia (with military-enforced internment camps).
There may still be bishops and priests who, though they see the truth, think they can wait this out. Rest assured, you can’t. Those who want to transform our society and even our very bodies will not stop. Unless we stop them. This is a spiritual battle, and we need our spiritual leaders.
May these men inspire all bishops and priests to take their rightful place at the head of millions of warriors for Christ.
Nicholas – member of the Western Rite Vicariate, a part of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese in America
We have relied greatly on Orthodox Talks in the preparation of this article.