Saturday, July 31, 2021

Encyclical from 1864 Shows the Orthodox Church of Greece Made Vaccination Against Smallpox Mandatory for All Believers


The smallpox vaccine, introduced by Edward Jenner in 1796, was the first successful vaccine to be developed. When smallpox devastated Greece in 1864, rulers were trying to find a way to fight it, and the Greek Orthodox Church through an encyclical of the Holy Synod had addressed the local hierarchs and consequently the Body of the Church, promoting the vaccine.

With harsh expressions for the time, the Holy Synod in its encyclical characterizes non-vaccination as a deadly sin, going one step further, calling those who refuse to be vaccinated that may die from the disease as suicides.

It proves that the Church has the maturity and the tools to motivate the faithful to be vaccinated and, above all, to isolate the divergent views within it.

This flashback refutes all those who try to accuse the Church of challenging science, despite the clear statements in favor of vaccinating both by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and Archbishop Hieronymos of Athens and All Greece, among many other Hierarchs throughout the world.