Faith Leaders Will Not Endorse Vaccine Exemptions

FILE – In this Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021 file photo, His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America throws a cross into Spring Bayou during the 115th year of the annual Epiphany celebration in Tarpon Springs, Fla. Leaders of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America said Thursday, Sept. 16, 2021, that while some people may have medical conditions for not receiving the vaccine, “there is no exemption in the Orthodox Church for Her faithful from any vaccination for religious reasons.” Greek Orthodox Archbishop Elpidophoros added: “No clergy are to issue such religious exemption letters,” and any such letter “is not valid.” (Douglas R. Clifford/Tampa Bay Times via AP)

Leaders of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America said Thursday that while some people may have medical reasons for not receiving the vaccine, “there is no exemption in the Orthodox Church for Her faithful from any vaccination for religious reasons.”

The Holy Eparchial Synod urges its members to pay attention to those of the medical field.

“No clergy are to issue such religious exemption letters,” Greek Orthodox Archbishop Elpidophoros said, and any such letter “is not valid.”

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York presented the argument that any priest issuing an exemption letter would be “acting in contradiction” to Pope Francis’ statement that receiving the vaccine is morally safe and the responsible thing to do.

– Ella Breedlove