Cyprus Orthodox Church To Suspend Unvaccinated Priests

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The leader of the Cyprus Orthodox Church has warned he would suspend a dozen unvaccinated priests from Tuesday if they continue to defy church rules on COVID-19.

Archbishop Chrysostomos II told state broadcaster CyBC on Sunday he would send the priests home, as they refused to get vaccinated while also advocating against coronavirus jabs.

He said that 27 of 123 priests in his diocese remained unvaccinated, including 15 who have exemptions for medical reasons.

The remaining 12 would be suspended for three months as of Tuesday, and if they continued to defy the archbishop, the suspension would be extended to six months and could lead to defrocking, Chrysostomos said.

He said it was “unprecedented” to have priests and even theologians disobey their chief bishop.

Chrysostomos, a cancer survivor, said some priests defied him due to his frail health.

He argued that the priests and theologians refuse to get jabbed, act out of “selfish motives”, and influence churchgoers.
Despite vaccination remaining optional in Cyprus, the archbishop issued strong guidelines to priests and theologians to get vaccinated.