The lingering appeal of metaphysics

Of the millions of Orthodox Christians who have received communion over the years, no one has ever contracted AIDS in doing so. This should be taken as a fact, although there are no statistics to back the claim. And the reason there are no such statistics is that there is no reason to carry one out; like there is no more reason to conduct an experiment to prove that the Earth does move. Doctors – at least those who bother to catch up with developments in their area of expertise instead of parading on television channels – know that the HIV virus is not transmitted by saliva. Like it is not transmitted by sweat, tears, kisses, handshakes or hugs. In other words, the fact that the virus is not transmitted by communion is not a miracle. It’s pure physics, and science.

Yiannis Micheloyiannakis, a doctor and a SYRIZA MP (he has previously been elected on the PASOK and Democratic Left tickets), prefers to put faith in metaphysics. He claims that communion is a virus killer. He claims to have witnessed a miracle firsthand when “one day at the children’s hospital, all the doctors went crazy when a medical professor said that she would receive communion along with HIV-infected kids.” It never crossed his mind that the professor might in fact know more. The man wanted to see a miracle, and that is what the man saw. After all, Micheloyiannakis says, he has witnessed the miraculous effect of saints’ relics, which is the reason he is against cremation: Why risk losing a potential saint? Even the Church has never made such claim.

For years, doctors, patients and their families have struggle to clear AIDS of the stigma of absolute evil and Godly punishment – a stigma that was imported by people who were more malign than uninformed. For years, they have fought against misguided prejudice that pushes people to the margins of society and makes others treat them like sinners rather than patients. That is until some Andreas Loverdos (who as health minister launched a witch hunt against HIV-infected women) or a Micheloyiannakis work to fuel these absurd fears.

The SYRIZA MP is not the only such champion of irrationalism who is working to erode humanity’s few achievements. Of course there are also those who believe that Greece is the victim of a chemtrail conspiracy, like the Independent Greeks candidate who ran for the post of vice president of Greece’s food safety watchdog, EFET. Others believe that every language derives from Greek, or that China’s Yunnan province is purely Greek or that the planet Mars is inhabited by Dorians. Again, some hundreds of thousands of irrational extremists believe that a true patriot has to vote for a Hitler-loving party.

Subscribe to our Newsletters

Enter your information below to receive our weekly newsletters with the latest insights, opinion pieces and current events straight to your inbox.

By signing up you are agreeing to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.