Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the spiritual leader of more than 300 million Orthodox Christians worldwide, received the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday at a public university in Istanbul, Turkey.
“His Holiness thanked the medical and nursing staff of the clinic, and on their faces all their colleagues around the world, for their self-sacrifice in the struggle to treat patients and support their relatives,” the Ecumenical Patriarchate wrote in a statement via Facebook. “He soon wished that as many citizens in the world would be vaccinated to intercept the deadly virus.”
The patriarch’s receiving of the vaccine comes two weeks after he called it “unacceptable” for people — especially Christian clergy members — to “deny the reality” of the pandemic.
“The rejection of the mask and all precautionary measures does not arise simply from ignorance but from the necrosis of love within them,” Bartholomew said in an interview with Greek newspaper To Vima. “Science, when it opens auspicious prospects for the future of mankind, is a gift from heaven.”
The 81-year-old Bartholomew said during the interview that receiving the coronavirus vaccine is a “responsibility to fellow human beings.”
Photo credit: Nikolaos Manginas / Ecumenical Patriarchate
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