A Greek metropolitan for the diocese of Kythera made comments last Sunday in church that have spurred an investigation by the local prosecutor in Piraeus. Metropolitan Seraphim of Kythera had spoken out to his congregation last week on the subject of the coronavirus vaccine, saying that it was prepared using parts of aborted human fetuses.
The prelate found himself in hot water after telling his parishioners during Vespers on Sunday that they should not receive the vaccine, saying that he had heard from Orthodox acquaintances in Italy that the vaccine was made from the products of abortions.
There were “dozens” of worshipers at the service, according to local reports. He was reported as saying “The new vaccines that are being released are made and prepared with the product of abortions.”
He added that religious figures in Italy had also discussed the issue and had told him that they were also worried about the moral implications of receiving the vaccine, “but economically we will accept it for human health,” they reportedly told Seraphim.
The Metropolitan added that he did not intend to take the vaccine, which he then stated “comes from killed embryos.
“If nothing is found other than a guaranteed group of Christian doctors, clergy and laity, who can fully assure us that there is no such thing inside, then we will (accept the vaccination),” he said. Calling human life sacred, he added that the vaccine “comes from this process of slaughtering the embryos.”
Metropolitan Seraphim then referred to Saint Nikiforos the Leper and stressed that the medicine needed to battle the coronavirus is in Holy Communion itself.
The Metropolitan had already been arrested by Greek authorities this past March because, despite the coronavirus prohibitions in force at the time, he had opened the doors of his church, inviting the faithful to the service. A case was then filed against him.
Oxford — AstraZeneca Vaccine uses aborted fetal cells in design, production
Several Catholic bishops in the United States wrote an official letter to the faithful advising them on this issue recently. They advised the faithful to get some vaccines — but avoid another — according to whether or not they used cells from aborted fetuses.
Both vaccines created by Pfizer and Moderna, the first two accepted for emergency use by the public, are “morally acceptable” according to the bishops, since neither company used “fetal cell lines from an aborted baby” during their production.
However, the companies both relied on those cells, obtained from an abortion that occurred decades ago, during laboratory tests, the bishops said.
“In our current circumstances, when better options are not available, the use of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines remains a morally valid option,” they wrote in the letter. “On the other hand, vaccines such as AstraZeneca–Oxford use aborted fetal lines in design, development, production and testing, and therefore are not a morally valid option because better options are available.”
A few weeks ago, Seraphim also opposed the joint decision of the government and the Archbishop to limit the number of people who are allowed to attend the Divine Liturgy in Greece.
Metropolitan Seraphim (Stergioulas) was born on December 27, 1950 in Vragkiana, Karditsa in western Thessaly and has served as a bishop since 2005.
The Greek government has embarked on a concerted campaign to promote the coronavirus vaccine, showing many members of its political elite receiving it this past week. The Oxford –Astra Zeneca vaccine has yet to be approved outside the UK, having just gotten the green light there on Wednesday.