Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew’s Interview in “Vima” (Greek Newspaper):
VIMA: Your All-Holiness, the whole world is plagued by the pandemic. And yet there are people, among them Church members – Clergy and laity – who deny the disease, while thousands of doctors and nurses are fighting for their lives to help the sick. What is your opinion?
Patriarch Bartholomew: “The pandemic changed our social life, our daily life, our participation in the life of the Church. All this time we are shocked by the sufferings of countless of our fellow human beings and are impressed by the self-sacrifice of doctors and nurses. That is why it is unacceptable, in the face of so many victims and so much pain, to have people who deny the reality of the pandemic, considering it the fabrication of various cycles. It is even more provocative when such views are expressed by Christians, often by Clergy, who self-proclaim to be defenders of a God of their own. The New Testament affirms that whoever does not love man, cannot love God.
These people are indifferent to the protection of fellow human beings. The rejection of masks and all precautionary measures does not arise simply from ignorance but from the necrosis of love within them. Science, when it opens auspicious prospects for the future of mankind, is a gift from heaven. Our faith certainly is not affected when we follow the instructions of experts. Nor do the restrictions on participation in the Services diminish the importance of the Church and what is conducted in it for the life of the faithful. Protective measures are not directed against the Church. They protect the faithful, who, like everyone else, are just as vulnerable to the virus.”
VIMA: Will you get the coronavirus vaccine?
Patriarch Bartholomew: “Of course I will get the vaccine. Besides, I think this is required based on my age. I am close to 81, so I belong to the age group that needs to be vaccinated. But it is not only a matter of necessity or choice, but also a responsibility to fellow human beings. That is why I hope that a large part of the world’s population will soon be vaccinated for the spread of the deadly virus to stop. Of course, until then, we must all strictly observe the protective measures so as not to mourn more victims.”
source: Orthodox Observer