Church of the Genuine Orthodox Christians of Greece
Communiqué Concerning Resolutions of the Holy Synod
February 5/18, 2021
On Thursday, February 5/18, 2021, the Holy Synod of the Church of the Genuine Orthodox Christians of Greece convened for its sixth regular session, under the Presidency of His Beatitude, Archbishop Kallinikos of Athens and All Greece and with the participation of twelve other Hierarchs from Greece and abroad by way of videoconferencing, and discussed and reached decisions on the following topics:
1. The Synod was informed about the ecclesiastical situation in Italy, with regard to developments in the affairs of the Holy Diocese of Luni.
2. The Synod was informed about developments in Serbia, with regard to the presence there of Genuine Orthodoxy and growing impediments.
3. The Synod discussed a petition for reception from someone presenting himself as a clergyman from the State Church; the petition was rejected.
4. There was discussion of the situation created by the coronavirus and specifically of the new vaccines. After studying the facts, the Hierarchs came to the following conclusions:
a) The abnormal situation generated by this pestilence should not become an occasion for the permanent or long-term curtailment of the basic freedoms of citizens by the government or for the promotion of schemes for globalization, nor should compulsory medical procedures be imposed on citizens without their free consent. Recently, the Council of Europe (2361/2021) ruled that vaccination is not obligatory and that there should be no discrimination against anyone not wishing to be vaccinated.
b) A plethora of conflicting information concerning vaccines against the coronavirus is circulating on the Internet, and even among experts in the scientific community. Much of this information has been debunked as false or dubious (at least with regard to the two principal vaccines in use in Greece). The matter does not appear to have any immediate spiritual or ecclesiastical dimensions, although there are objections that also pose bioethical issues at an early or experimental phase in the preparation of vaccines. The most serious objections pertain to the safety of vaccines, that is, whether their trial periods have been sufficient and whether mRNA technology is safe in all respects. Experts on these issues express differing views, with many of them declaring in favor of the safety of the vaccines, although no one can offer absolute assurance concerning their long-term consequences. However, a single Church body, such as the Holy Synod, is not competent to pronounce on the safety of new pharmaceutical preparations or even experimental vaccines. Every citizen is called to make his own decision, after consulting with physicians whom he trusts and who are familiar with the state of his health. Spiritual Fathers must not provide concrete encouragements or discouragements regarding vaccination to the faithful who ask them about it, beyond general information, since they will then bear responsibility either if the faithful lose their lives or put them at risk from vaccination (on account of serious side effects) or from non-vaccination (on account of disease with serious consequences resulting from the virus). This issue does not cease being chiefly and basically a medical one.
c) We call upon our faithful to continue their fervent prayers for the cessation of this plague, for the healing of the infirm, and for the strengthening of doctors and nurses in their difficult work and especially that they abide in peace and love among themselves, not judging one another over their attitudes towards medical issues and not falling into the trap of new divisions and disagreements on these matters, but being concerned first and foremost with the salvation of their souls.
5. The Holy Synod dealt with other ongoing issues.
From the Chancery
Iftar, refers to the evening meal when Muslims break their fast during the Islamic month of Ramadan. Iftar is one of the religious observances of Ramadan and is often done as a community, with people gathering to break their fast together. Iftar is done right after sunset.
We report the following unchanged as it was published:
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2021 St. Xenia Camp
Greetings St. Xenia Camp family,
As previously announced, through the intercessions of St. Xenia, the prayers of so many of you, and with the blessing of Metropolitan Demetrius, St. Xenia Camp 2021 will return to Forest Acres in Fryeburg, Maine August 15-21! Given the continued impact of COVID-19, camp this year may yet be somewhat different from the past Forest Acres experiences. We are sharing this information ahead of registration so that all families can make an informed decision on whether they feel comfortable sending their camper(s) this year. [Read more...]
Q. Can you tell me what the two-headed snake cane the Greek Bishop is walking with represents? What does it mean?
-V.T. Read more...