A prosecutor in Thessaloniki has ordered a preliminary investigation in the wake of statements by an abbot in the monastic community of Mount Athos, northern Greece, about the activities of clerics who are encouraging monks not to get vaccinated against the coronavirus.
Speaking on public broadcaster ERT Radio, the abbot of the Esphigmenou Monastery, Vartholomaios, called for the intervention of judicial authorities, emphasizing that no one can be idle “when death smells around us, not only on Mount Athos but all over the world.”
He bemoaned that a purely medical issue has been turned into a spiritual one, claiming some monks are “consciously” lying in the name of Mount Athos and even the Monastery of Esphigmenou.
As part of the prosecutor’s investigation, Vartholomaios will be summoned to testify and name those he has referred to in order to determine whether they are disseminating fake news.
The monastic state of Mount Athos has been hit hard by Covid-19, with several dozen monks falling ill since the beginning of the pandemic and some dying due to complications of the disease.