February 17, 2022

On Covid 19 (Archimandrite Alexios of Xenophontos)

 On Covid 19

January 2022
By Archimandrite Alexios,
Abbot of the Holy Monastery of Xenophontos, Mount Athos

I consider the Covid 19 pandemic, regardless of its origins, an ordeal God has allowed to visit the human race. To allow does not mean to wish, but to tolerate.

We have all, therefore, come face to face with the tragic reality of counting numerous deaths on a daily basis, including friends and loved ones.

In an effort to interpret the phenomenon, many voices have been heard, resulting in confusion and division among the people.

The health authorities promptly informed us as to how the virus is transmitted and how it should be confronted.

It is worthy of astonishment how a matter of health has been converted by some into a matter of faith.  This is especially true in light of the fact that the head of the Great Church of Christ, our Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, declared from the beginning that “the virus is not a hazard to our faith, but to the faithful.”  He continued by entreating us to follow the protocols of the medical professionals and to be vaccinated, as he was one of the first to do so.

The Holy Synod of the Church of Greece followed suit, urging the faithful to be vaccinated along with the governmental health authorities, who have direct responsibility for the health of the citizens.

Unfortunately, contrary to the prudent and responsible declarations of the authorities, opposition arose from irresponsible and reckless voices which has divided the people.  The result has been the unwarranted and premature loss of lives in addition to the perpetuation of the virus through mutation, since it has found fertile ground.

Vaccinations are a universal given for all, Christians or not.  What is the reason, then, as some preach, for the transmission of the "antichrist" to Muslims, Hindus and idolaters, everywhere?

Even on Mount Athos there are those who are disobedient to the injunctions of the Church and medicine, and unfortunately we too are mourning fatalities.

When the Church decides synodically, it does not make mistakes. “Hold fast to the opinion of the majority”.

It is a travesty that a matter of health has been elevated to a matter of dogma, even to the point that some say “whoever receives the vaccine will not be saved…” What a destructive and irresponsible assertion!

The end of this fatal pandemic which tyrannizes our planet will be brought about through the grace of God, together with the humble and earnest prayers of the faithful as well as by our obedience to the decrees of those responsible in both the Church and the State.

Let us not forget that as with every bodily illness, we take refuge in our medical professionals and follow their therapeutic directives. Why do we not do the same for this virus which has taken so many human lives?  Why do we not use the medicine that God has given us through science to keep the onslaught of the virus in check?

“Stand well” my brothers, as we say in the liturgy, and do not believe every spirit, but the spirit of our Lord which is manifest through the Church and not the isolated voices of the irresponsible.