Greek Orthodox Holy Men Sow Vaccine Mistrust by Calling It ‘Mark of the Antichrist’

A monastery in northern Greece where the abbot has instructed his disciples to “refuse to become a guinea pig” by taking a Covid vaccine Sakis MITROLIDIS AFP

MILOCHORI (Greece) (AFP) – In a remote monastery in northern Greece, an Orthodox abbot delivers a blunt message to dozens of his maskless worshippers: Covid-19 vaccines are “the mark of the Antichrist”.

Vaccine scepticism is rampant in the country’s north, where clerics and monks play a key role in the lives of their followers, often serving as a personal confessor.

Earlier this month dozens gathered to celebrate the nameday of Abbot Maximos in the monastery outside the village of Milochori, west of the nearest town Ptolemaida.

Sitting down to a simple buffet, the 88-year-old abbot used the occasion to hammer home his anti-vaccine message.

“In the end, only 1,000 people will escape it,” he warned.

To those present, his words carry divine weight.

“Abbot Maximos has been in this monastery for 50 years, he is a holy man,” said Evangelia, a trained geologist in her 60s.

“He has been my confessor for over 40 years and I closely follow his advice. He set me on the path of the Lord,” she told AFP.

Most monasteries are nominally overseen by the powerful Greek Orthodox Church, which was reluctant to encourage the faithful to respect anti-Covid measures at the start of the pandemic.

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Source: France24

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