The Moral Peril of Taking Most COVID-19 Vaccines

One of the great pleasures of this blog is the opportunity to present opinions from erudite scholars. The Orthodox Church is blessed with stalwart clerics who are not only erudite but possess a traditionalist phronema.

Fr Alexander F C Webster, PhD, is one such man.

Fr Alexander has had an illustrious career as an academic, author, and speaker. For more than twenty-four years he was an Orthodox chaplain in the United States Army, achieving the rank of colonel. In August 2019 he retired as Dean and Professor of Moral Theology Emeritus at Holy Trinity Seminary at Jordanville, New York.

One of the things that I respect about Fr Alexander is his ability to speak (and write) forthrightly. He has done so in the past on several different topics. Lately, he has come to the fore to address the issue of COVID-19 and many of its attendant issues.

In that vein, he has graciously submitted the following essay. Gail and I hope that you take the time to read it. As always, we invite you to read it for yourselves and of course to comment. I firmly believe that it will prove intellectually stimulating.


The Moral Peril of Taking Most COVID-19 Vaccines

Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster, PhD

The recent public statement by the Orthodox Theological Society in America (OTSA) released on March 8, 2021, with this unwieldy title—“Covid-19 vaccines: How they are made and how they work to prime the immune system to fight SARS-CoV2”—offers a seeming patina of legitimacy to an ethical argument that is abhorrent to any informed, devout Orthodox Christian. (See In this essay, I shall retrieve that gauntlet and offer what I hope is a compelling counterargument.


The OTSA statement declares boldly, “Most Church leaders have agreed that the many lives saved by vaccination are an important factor in permitting the use of these vaccines.” It provides, however, links only to two Roman Catholic documents and a Zoom video of the “Halki IV” summit sponsored by the Patriarchate of Constantinople in January 2021. For the latter, the OTSA document states timidly, “Metropolitan Nathanael touches upon this question.” However, the Greek Orthodox bishop of Chicago barely “touches” on the question and appears hesitant and uncertain of his own position.

On the other side of the question—and yes, two distinct, conflicting moral worldviews in the worldwide Orthodox Church are at stake—are four unequivocal documents produced by Orthodox hierarchs around the globe (boldface added for emphasis).

First, chapter 12, section 7, of the Bases of the Social Concept of the Russian Orthodox Church (AD 2000), a reliable, for the most part, a compendium of moral analyses of a multitude of issues approved by the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Moscow, includes this unequivocal  position (boldface in original):

The Church believes it to be definitely inadmissible to use the methods of so-called fetal therapy in which the human fetus on various stages of its development is aborted and used in attempts to treat various diseases and to ‘rejuvenate’ an organism. Denouncing abortion as a cardinal sin, the Church cannot find any justification for it either even if someone may possibly benefit from the destruction of a conceived human life. Contributing inevitably to ever wider spread and commercialization of abortion, this practice (even if its still hypothetical effectiveness could be proved scientifically) presents an example of glaring immorality and is criminal.” [Source:]

Second, a press release on “The Cloning of Embryonic Cells” by the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece on August 17, 2000, included this ringing denunciation of human cloning in the aftermath of the successful experimental cloning of a sheep in the United Kingdom named “Dolly” (boldface added for emphasis):

“The recent decision of the British Government to permit experimentation on human embryonic cells derived from cloning of the Dolly type triggered an intense political and medical dispute, which also reopens the need to emphasize that the ethical criterion is incomparably higher than any scientific achievement. . . .


“a) Our Church expresses her explicit opposition to conducting experiments on human embryonic cells. What is named thus implies the destruction of not embryonic cells but human embryos.

“b) The position that the human person begins to develop from the 14th day after conception offers an alibi to British scientists, but this, having a scholastic derivation and not a scientific basis, consists of subjective belief and arbitrary opinion. The Church and Christian conscience accept the human being as a person [πρόσωπο] with an eternal and timeless perspective from the moment of conception.

“c) Differentiations [distinctions/discriminations] between people are continuously increasing. Everything indicates that the course of our societies is clearly all the more “eugenics” and racist. An attempt, however, to improve life cannot pass through the destruction of millions of human beings of embryonic [fetal] age. . . .”

[Source:; translation from the Greek original by Protopresbyter George A. Alexson]

Third, a section on “The Transplant of Organs” on the Official Site of the Romanian Patriarchate lists these mandatory “principles,” among others, for proper, moral utilization of human organs and tissues, which collectively point to a rejection of the harvesting of aborted baby cells for any purpose without the consent of the preborn child-victim—an obvious impossibility:

  • “Because the extraction of organs implies the consent of the donor, extraction of tissues from an embryo is inconceivable given the fact that although alive, this one cannot give its consent.”
  • “It is not admitted to causing mutilation or death through the extraction of organs, even to save the life of another person.”
  • “The Church cannot agree with the transplant of the embryoid tissues which involves the risk to affect the good health of the fetus and neither with using the transplant of the organs of the acephalous or hydrocephalous newborn babies.”


 Fourth, more recently on August 21, 2020, in a joint public letter to Scott Morrison, Prime Minister of Australia the Anglican Archbishop Glen Davies of Sydney, Roman Catholic Archbishop Anthony Fisher of Sydney, and Archbishop Makarios (Griniezakis), Primate of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia, rejected, on moral grounds, any vaccines derived from “fetal cell lines”—that is, from aborted preborn babies (August 20, 2020). Here are the key points of their defense of those people of faith who will reject certain COVID-19 vaccines on moral grounds: 

“Some will have no ethical problem with using tissue from electively aborted fetuses for medical purposes. Others may regard the use of a cell line derived from an abortion performed back in the 1970s as now sufficiently removed from the abortion itself to be excusable. But others again will draw a straight line from the ending of human life in abortion through the cultivation of the cell-line to the use for manufacturing this vaccine; even if the cells have been propagated for years in a laboratory far removed from the abortion, that line of connection remains. They will be concerned not to benefit in any way from the death of the little girl whose cells were taken and cultivated, nor to be trivializing that death, and not to be encouraging the fetal tissue industry.

“While we accept that the proposed vaccine may be sufficiently remote from the abortion that occasioned the derivation of the cell-line, we flag to you that any COVID-19 vaccine cultured on a fetal cell-line will raise serious issues of conscience for a proportion of our population. Those troubled by this may either acquiesce to the social and political pressure to use the vaccine, or conscientiously object to the use by themselves and their dependents; if the latter, they will suffer various disadvantages (e.g. denial of access to childcare, aged care, or employment) . . .”

The three archbishops then, noting that “other vaccine trials . . . do not involve the use of morally compromised fetal cell lines,” seek assurance from their Australian government that the latter will not compel those citizens who have “conscientious or moral” objections to take any vaccine connected to fetal cell lines and “will ensure that an ethically uncontroversial alternative vaccine be made available in Australia if it is achieved.” [Full text available at]


In stark contrast to all the above is the recent OTSA statement. Here are the three most pertinent sections of that document with my interlinear comments and rebuttals. (All words in boldface are added for emphasis; my comments are in italics within brackets. Full disclosure: I resigned as a member of OTSA after a group “vote” in 1998 in favor of the Aleppo Statement calling for a “common Easter” among all Christians by AD 2001 that ignored the post-Passover timing in Orthodox tradition.)

  1. Have the mRNA vaccines relied on fetal cells at any point? Answer: The Pfizer and mRNA vaccines (as well as the not yet approved Novavax and Inovio vaccines) were not made from fetal cells that came from aborted fetuses. The vaccines were tested in culture against fetal cells to help ensure that they would not harm a fetus  [NOTE: A disingenuous claim at best, since the harm to the “fetus” already occurred decades ago when her retinal cells were harvested for development of such vaccines, and, moreover, the process of development and production did, in fact, rely on such cells for “testing.] as well as to ensure that the technology works in a human cell [NOTE: Hence the “necessity” to utilize human cells ultimately derived from an aborted preborn baby]. These tests were done with cells derived from the 1960’s and 1970’s [Inaccurate dates: for HEK-293, a kidney cell line that was isolated from an aborted preborn baby in 1973 from an intentional elective abortion, and for PER.C6, a retinal cell line —that is, from the eye of the preborn child—that was isolated from an aborted preborn baby in 1985.] from so-called therapeutic abortions. [NOTE: A weasel use of “therapeutic,” which presumes some kind of medical situation: the specific abortions were planned and elective and the aborted preborn children were old enough in the womb to enable “harvesting” of organs such as their liver or eyes. See:] No new fetuses have been sacrificed since that time for any vaccine tests [NOTE: A valid point but irrelevant to the sacrifice of the two aborted babies who provided the original KEK-293 and PER.C6 cell lines.]. Different from the mRNA vaccines, many of the other Covid-19 vaccines (e.g. AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson) are grown using the same fetal cell line. To ‘grow’ the vaccine in fetal cells is a term that scientists use because all viruses are dependent on cells for “growth”, which for a virus means to replicate, and thus, the production of viral vaccines will require cells for production. [NOTE: Whether a vaccine was grown in, derived from, or tested with a fetal kidney or retinal cell is a distinction without a moral difference: the process is still ultimately connected to a heinous act of abortion.]  Most vaccines do not ‘grow’ well in adult cells, and therefore require the use of fetal cells. [NOTE: Expedience is not a moral justification!] Importantly, mRNA vaccines are synthesized without cells. Vaccine synthesis and vaccine production are two separate steps in the vaccine-making pipeline. Some vaccines (e.g. Rubella, chickenpox) used in the United States also come from viruses grown in aborted fetal cells (again, from those cells from the 1960s and 1970s). The United States government has banned the generation of any new cells or the sacrifice of any embryos for the purpose of investigation. Nevertheless, it is recognized that some vaccines would not be possible without the growth of the viral vaccines in these fetal cells. [NOTE: Hence the moral argument against those vaccines.]
  2. Are the vaccines unethical because of their use of aborted fetal cells? Answer: Several significant factors lead to the conclusion that the vaccines present the best ethical option to promote health and life, despite their connection with the use of aborted fetal cells. These factors are: (1) The fetal cells in use today are derived from two or three therapeutic abortions performed several decades ago. The abortions were NOT for the purpose of the development of vaccines, [NOTE: False! There is no evidence of the precise circumstances of the original abortions except that they were not natural miscarriages.] and all parties (including the US government) have agreed that no new fetuses will be aborted or used for this purpose. [NOTE: Thank God for that, but the two “original sins” that occurred in the 1970s and 1980s remain in effect and continue to be exploited.] (2) Many vaccines (other than COVID) that we use in the US and worldwide are made from these cells, and other substitute cell lines have not proven to be effective for growing the vaccines; this has been the only alternative. (3) Most Church leaders [NOTE: An unsubstantiated, gratuitous claim: is there any evidence of such a “poll” and, if so, which Church “leaders”?] have agreed that the many lives saved by vaccination are an important factor in permitting the use of these vaccines. While it is a sad reality that the origin of these cell lines is from these very few therapeutic abortions, the cell lines are already in existence, [NOTE: A non-sequitur that glosses over the original intrinsic evils.] no new fetuses will be used, and as such, it is far preferable [NOTE: Meaningless comparative: it is never licit and not even “necessary” in view of alternative vaccines without abortion pedigrees. See section IV of this essay below.] to cure diseases as a result of the use of these cell lines than to totally forbid the use of these cell lines. The vaccines in no way legitimize or promote abortion; [NOTE: A disingenuous claim at best: exploiting the consequences of an abortion, particularly cells extracted from the preborn baby, entails a sharing of the guilt for the original abomination and provides tacit approval for similar exploitations in the present.] rather they combat disease and death, support health, and enable life—not death—to prevail, all of which are of the highest ethical value. [NOTE: That argument fails to address the crucial moral question of profiting from the original abortions, whose preborn baby  “donors” were unable to consent to the organ harvesting, and who were victims of objectively, intrinsically evil acts akin to similar abominations on a mass scale such as the slaughter of innocent beings in genocides including the Holocaust.] More information regarding the morality of using these cell lines can be found at the following links: (1) Ecumenical Patriarchate – “Halki Summit IV – Covid-19 and Climate change: Living with and Learning from a Pandemic”. Metropolitan Nathanael [NOTE: GOA, not OCA] touches upon this question. (2) The Vatican – Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith a-vaccini-anticovid_en.html (3) United States Conference of Catholic Bishops [NOTE: A very selective use of sources in agreement with OTSA’s Statement: two can play that card! See the four Orthodox episcopal documents at the beginning of this article, which clearly trump the three cited by OTSA.]
  3. Some new COVID vaccines (such as Johnson and Johnson) are grown in fetal cells. Are these vaccines in particular unethical, and should we avoid them? Answer: No. Although the use of “more” fetal cells in one type of vaccine than another (for example, by growing the vaccine in the cells as opposed to simply testing them using the cell line) appears to suggest that more fetal deaths occurred or that more fetuses were involved, this is NOT accurate. [NOTE: A deflection argument: no one I know is making that claim.]. All the cells used are clones from the same original fetal cell lines, and whether a few cells or many are used, there are NO new fetuses involved [NOTE: A mere repeat of the preceding sentence already rebutted.] The ethics of taking one vaccine is essentially no different from that of another. [NOTE: Audacious falsehood! OTSA fails to mention COVID-19 vaccines in development—such as CVnCoV, CureVac’s mRNA-based vaccine candidate in Germany. See section IV of this article below.]


A more systematic argument for the OTSA position in favor of all COVID-19 vaccines currently available and in production, though one which also fails the moral test, appears in the late Tristram H. Engelhardt’s book, Foundations of Christian Bioethics (Beverly, MA: Scrivener Publishing, 2000),

Here is the pertinent section from chapter 5 (p. 261: with boldface added for emphasis):

“Under circumstances that allow the use of tissues and organs from persons who die accidentally, it is appropriate to use tissues and organs from fetuses who die accidentally. Under circumstances that allow the use of tissues and organs from persons who were murdered, it is similarly allowable to use tissues and organs from fetuses who have been aborted . . . , from ‘excess’ embryos stored in vitro fertilization clinics, or from embryos that have been formed to produce tissues and organs. The same can be said of knowledge derived from embryo and fetal research. There is no bar in principle against using for a good end something that has been acquired by heinous means, as long as one has not been involved in (1) employing these evil means, (2) encouraging their use, (3) avoiding their condemnation, or (4) giving scandal through their use. One can drink water from a well that was dug by unjustly forced labor.”

The main problem in that analysis is two-fold: first, the surprisingly sanguine, even cavalier attitude toward “fetuses who have been aborted,” and, second, a false teleology—indeed, a strictly secular, un-Orthodox consequentialist argument focused exclusively on the supposedly good intentions of those who may wish “to use tissues and organs” from aborted preborn babies with total disregard for the intrinsically evil intent that led to the willful abortions in the first place and the needless, violent destruction of human persons that is the object of those abortions.

Engelhardt’s confident proclamation that “there is no bar in principle against using for a good end something that has been acquired by heinous means” is, prima facie, a classic consequentialist mantra. His four conditions, as it were, for licit use of aborted baby cells toward the end of the excerpt above offer little nuance or value. The first seems to absolve anyone except the abortionists themselves and their collaborators who procured the desired cell lines; those who utilize and benefit by the product of abortion are deemed guiltless, even when they know the genesis of their bounty. The last three conditions are sophistries. Anyone who willfully benefits from such abortions provides a tacit post-factum encouragement of the original act and similar acts in the present and future. Facile “condemnation” of the original evil act does not absolve anyone from benefiting from that act. How anyone who utilizes aborted baby cells even for an ostensibly good end can avoid “giving scandal through their use” is beyond my comprehension: the “scandal” is inherent in the intrinsically evil act and the hands of anyone who exploits that act are also dirty.

Engelhardt also seems to contradict himself when he deems “appropriate” the use of any tissues and organs from “fetuses who die accidentally”—that is, natural miscarriages when, ironically, the fetal cells “needed” for the COVID-19 vaccines are likely to be useless due to the time-lapse before harvesting—and then expands the set of possible circumstances through his analogy to “murder,” which is not accidental. Before the reader can ponder that dubious analogy (who among the living can consent in good conscience to the use of the murder victim’s organs, if the victim is not already an official “organ donor”?), Engelhardt opens a pandora’s box of parallel abominations when he callously cites “excess” embryos—as if any human person is “excess” on this earth—and, more shockingly, human embryos generated precisely and solely for scientific/medical purposes such as the utilitarian production of “tissues and organs.”


Thanks to the providence of God the Holy Trinity, conscientious Orthodox Christians do not confront a zero-sum decision between any or all COVID-19 vaccines, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, no COVID-19 vaccines. Several vaccines currently in development have no connections to aborted babies (“fetal cell lines”). The website of the Charlotte Lozier Institute provides a link (updated as recently as March 3, 2021) to a widely-circulated chart of which vaccines do and which do not utilize such cell lines and to what extent: The vaccines in development marked exclusively with green squares are potentially good moral alternatives to those unacceptable vaccines that OTSA and some other Orthodox have blessed.

 To be sure, the virtue of prudence may preclude any vaccines produced in Communist China, above all the one in development at the infamous Wuhan Institute, the source of the COVID-19 virus in the first place. However, a vaccine from the Bharat Biotech/Indian Council of Medical Research in India appears to be ready for distribution, and the Zydus Cadila vaccine in India has completed stage 3 of its development. Both utilized monkey cells instead of preborn human baby cell lines. Two other vaccines still in the mid-phases of development also depend on monkeys instead of human cells: the vaccine from Osaka University—AnGes, Takara Bio—in Japan, and the vaccine from the Israel Institute for Biological Research (IIBR).

The most promising and imminent of the alternative vaccines is CVnCoV, the product of a collaboration between CureVac and Bayer AG in Germany and the GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) pharma group in the United Kingdom. (That is the same Bayer pharmaceutical company that has supplied aspirins to American families for decades!) The CureVac COVID-19 has completed all phases of development and testing. Manufacture and initial distribution in the 27 member nations of the European Union will be conducted by CureVac (Germany) and Novartis (Austria) “probably in late summer 2021,” which is, of course only a few months away. For details see and

There is a catch, however. The quantity of those vaccines may be limited to 100 million doses per annum with only 50 million available through 2021. (See Moreover, CureVac intends to include areas around the globe without alternative COVID-19 vaccines. That would appear to exclude the United States for the immediate future. Perhaps direct appeals to the CureVac authorities by those of us in the United States and Canada with profound religious objections to the current batch of vaccines might persuade the German company to provide for us, at cost, their morally acceptable vaccine as an exception to their current policy. Nonetheless, “hope is on the way” for us conscientious objectors to the morally objectionable vaccines currently available—if we can stay the course and resist the temptation to settle now for instant medical mammon.


 To summarize my moral case against all the COVID-19 vaccines currently available and most still in production, I offer the following reflections as one Orthodox moral theologian—no more, no less.

We must reject, on moral grounds, all COVID-19 vaccines that have any connection to aborted preborn baby cells (especially those babies who were “kept alive” long enough for scientists to extract the kidneys or retinas from which they derived the desired “material.”) Time and distance are irrelevant to profiteering from such abominations for any reason, even life-saving in the present or future. According to traditional Orthodox moral theology (as opposed to revisionist variations so common today), certain actions (“means” to “ends”) are objectively,  intrinsically evil under any “circumstances”—most notably, abortion, rape, incest, child abuse, physical torture, and deliberate targeting of non-combatants in war.

Otherwise, we fall into a utilitarian or, worse, the consequentialist temptation that justifies anything however repellent and abominable for the “greater good” that one may have as his intention. The New Testament, the consensus patrum, and our own Orthodox-informed consciences all testify to the uncontestable moral maxim that we may not do evil to achieve good. There is no “lesser evil” that is tolerable to achieve, ostensibly, a “greater good.” If the means or action toward even a good end is intrinsically evil, the entire decision must be deemed immoral and unacceptable in all circumstances. A “lesser evil” decision process cloaked in “greater good” language is sophistry, prelest, and sheer moral evil.

Is our own bodily health, including likely immunity via vaccination from a pandemic that, despite the toll of deaths—each one tragic and unnecessary—is only one of many other, some more deadly pandemics in human history, worth compromising an informed moral conscience by benefiting in any way from the abomination of abortions?

Ultimately, our unbroken faith and hope in God the Holy Trinity and in the life in the world to come will sustain us in this present biological trial. It will take that—as well as courage—to eschew tempting but immoral medical solutions to the COVID-19 virus while waiting for a truly moral alternative.

May our Lord grant us the strength to do so.




  1. Thank you, Fr Alexander for this clear, cogent analysis.

    Before I read your essay, I read the OTSA offering.
    I took issue with each of the three parts of the answer given
    to the very first of their questions:

    Answer: The goal of all vaccines is the same: to activate the immune system to be prepared to fight against the actual infectious agent (e.g. a virus) should the individual become infected.”
    A strong immune system is already prepared to fight, and natural immunity
    is always stronger than vaccine induced immunity and lasts longer.
    Why not use this God-given shield as first preference.

    If we take the approach to never miss an opportunity to vaccinate,
    we will more easily end this pandemic.”
    The replacement of wild strain polio by vaccine strain polio
    rather gives the lie to this argument.

    “Because vaccines are a safe way to prevent viral infections…”
    Congress in 1986 and the U.S. Supreme Court in 2011 declared vaccines to be ‘un-avoidably unsafe’ and shielded drug companies from all product liability.
    If vaccines were safe, drug companies would not need shielded from liability.

    On the horror of profiting from abortion (murder) and the theological arguments against, I am wholly on your side, Father.

    PS: OTSA seem not to have heard of Antibody Dependent Enhancement,
    which in itself somewhat lessens the value of their assurances.

  2. Interesting.

    On the flip side, this Archbishop just damned everyone to hell who refuses to get the vaccine.

    • The highlight of this video is definitely 23:51. I have no idea what’s going on, but it’s probably more profitable than anything the bishop has to say.

      • Jane Tzilvelis says

        Oh my gosh! Just listened to the video you posted! Thank you for exposing the corruption inside the Canadian Greek Orthodox Church. Most of us are aware what the Canadian government did to punish the Grace Life church and pastor for not following the globalist agenda: terrorism, church closed, and the pastor jailed!

        Those churches that feed off the government 5013C status are destroying their own churches. Who will pay their salary if the Canadian government closes their churches? Who will provide these hypocritical church preachers with free cars, phones, medical care, free utility bills and free rent (besides hidden perks)? Who are these priests to brainwash their flocks into believing an experimental medical technology is safe?

        Mr. Canadian priest: Put your $ where your mouth is! Will you pay the medical damages or funeral costs for any of your flock if the medical experimental technology maims or kills them? No, you won’t!

        “What an opportunity the Church had over this past year to show itself as the salt and light of the earth. Had the Church set itself as a city on a hill, had it maintained its salty preservatives, there is no telling how God would have honored its faith and testimony, brought millions of souls into the Kingdom and placed a dagger in the heart of the evil one. Instead, the Church closed its doors, turned off its light and threw itself under the foot of men.” (Pastor Chuck Baldwin)

        Pastor Baldwin never took the 5013c bait. He pays his own way whilst preaching God’s word alone!

    • “Listen to the Church – not your geronda or your confessor.”

      He is essentially saying he (and not gerondas or confessors) is the Church. How else can one interpret this?

      With regard to Holy Communion: “The government has not said we cannot distribute -only the method by which we may do so.” Oh really? I recall many months when the government essentially said just that by ordering the churches closed to the faithful. Question: Did this bishop find another time/place/means of distributing holy communion when the Churches were closed? And if not, why not?

      Doing our best to cooperate with government officials is one thing. Total capitulation (in the name of Christ no less) is quite another. One may as well argue that Eucharist belongs to Caesar.

  3. Father Alexander just knocked the ball out of the stadium. Many years to him!

  4. Jane Tzilvelis says

    The Holy Covid Empire of the United States of Asses has lost its noodle. Make sure to tell anyone wearing a face diaper to also put on a pair of Depends to cover their anal orifice, too.

    I am an Orthodox Christian. The Orthodox Church bowed down to the Holy Covid Empire and continues to do so. Church leaders have forsaken God because of their 5013C status. Let’s stop playing pretend! Plain and simple: The Orthodox Church leaders speaks with forked tongues. Some of them even provide vaccine clinics.

    I found the following article by a rabbi quite refreshing. Stand against government medical tyranny!

    • George Michalopulos says

      This rabbi is indeed a wise man.

      Which of course raises an interesting question: and that is why have the Israelis gone whole hog for the hysteria?

      As for your insight re the 501C3 status of our churches, you are spot on. It would be better if all of our parishes gave this up ASAP.

  5. Please forgive me, three things:

    1. I had not heard of OTSA before today. Can someone educate me. Who are they? Who is part of it? What hierarchs, clergy, etc.?

    2. I would suggest that we need not wait for morally acceptable vaccine options. There are numerous treatments/suppliments available which are far better at combatting this virus and/or boosting the immune system to do it on its own. If anyone is interested I am happy to pass on links with more info.

    3. I submit that taking any covid vaccine might have moral implications. This is not simply a health issue. This virus has been politicized and used for nefarious ends from the very beginning. Those pushing lockdowns, masks and vaccines for over a year without giving a second look at the available treatments do NOT have our best interests at heart. Even if there are morally acceptable vaccines, we could still be faced with issues like vaccine passports, which no Orthodox Christian should support. The currently available vaccines have got us no closer to resuming “normal” life, reopening of churches, etc. I believe this is an eschatological event that is/will separate the wheat from the chaff. Lord forgive me and let this sorry excuse for a Christian to be among the wheat.

    • Seraphim,

      I do not mean to cast aspersions on any of these folks because I know none of them personally. I am, however, immediately skeptical of those who call themselves theologians. Some may be very knowledgeable, well trained, and even espouse more or less ‘good theology,’ but IMHO none of these qualities makes one a theologian.

    • From what I understand about the OTSA, it’s (yet again) another poorly motivated effort by Orthodox Christians to impress and get the secular academic “theological” world to “respect” them.

      This is an insane effort – to get the secular humanist “academic” world to like us – and has killed the Orthodox Churches that have embraced this path (like the mainstream GOA). It leads to worldliness, which is not Christ.

      Orthodox parishes, monasteries, and seminaries are *supposed* to appear “weird” and “strange” and “not of this world” to the secular world. That’s how it’s supposed to be. We must embrace this truth.

      I know as well as any Orthodox American that we all have needs for connection and belonging. But we must meet these needs for connection and belonging in Christ and within the Church, not through trying to earn respect, approval, and affirmation from the secular world.

  6. Before we get to the ethics of how any experimental “vaccines” are derived, we need to consider the ethics of a healthcare and political system pushing said vaccines while refusing to use proven, safe, and readily available therapeutics to treat a disease that has a .002% mortality rate. For the vast majority of the population there is no need for a vaccine, however produced.

  7. Thank you for this very timely posting. My family are strongly insisting that I get the covid shot. I have been unsuccessful in explaining why I cannot do this, even saying it goes against my conscience my faith and my God. I was received into the Holy Orthodox Church on Theophany of 2012. I continue to pray that my family will all one day also be received into the church. My hope is that discussion that arises from these type of issues will bring them a step closer. In the meantime I am constantly thrown on the grace of God for His strength. Posts like this are a great encouragement. Thank you.

  8. Rd. Nicolas says

    These are arguments for why we should steer people away from the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, but are not relevant to discussions about the Moderns and Pfizer vaccines.

    As Bishop Luke of Holy Trinity monastery put it,
    “Among the valid concerns two are noteworthy: long-term trials are lacking and aborted fetal cells were used in research. While some conventional vaccines apparently utilize these cell lines in production, the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines do not.”

    • UtrechtFrederick says

      Why do you need a vaccine for a <1% death rate virus, which mostly effects the elderly? Perhaps any elderly person with a terrible flu should not be put back into their rest homes on order of secular authorities?

      Do these "vaccines" stop the spread of the virus? How will you ever protect your elderly? Why do you need two shots? What if you need four? Are you ok with six shots (are you ok with closing Churches for two weeks? How about 1 year? How about a second Pascha?)

      Where is their any example of the Church closing for a plague in any history by the Saints of the Church? Are we papists who only "admire" icons and do not kiss and venerate them?
      Can you get sick from Icons?

      Are you familiar with the Living Church of Soviet Union? Or Father George of Romania? Do you think PHDs and secular scientists should be listened to above our Saints and Holy Church Fathers?

      Interviewer: Maybe you need to go back and do something. They will probably be unable to reach their young people unless they sincerely account for what has happened and repent. “We are sorry that it happened because of our human failings and our human weaknesses.” They would have to face themselves as you did. If the Church representatives don’t do that, they will have no moral authority in the lives of the young people, many of whom will turn to Eastern religions.

      Fr George: I think the sin of the hierarchs and the theologians in Romania is intellectualism. They pass everything through their minds. They forget the soul and the heart. They are very cultivated (cultured, educated, polished, sophisticated) people; they speak very well and so on, but everything is dry. I think that is why the youth came to me.

      Interviewer: Because you were alive.

      Fr George: They came to me, and they loved me.

      You know, during these sermons I delivered, there were moments when I was ready to give up. Many of my colleagues and priests came to me and said, “Father, stop it, or they will destroy the seminary. The Communists are waiting and looking for motives to close the seminary. Can you understand what will happen if the seminary is closed?” And sometimes they convinced me to stop. But I would talk to the students and would tell them what the priests and professors said – that the Communists could close the seminary – and ask them what they thought about it. “Father, go ahead [and preach],” they would say. “We are with you! It is too late to go back now. We are with you. If they throw you out of the seminary, we are going with you.” Thus, the students, the young people, would not let me stop my preaching. For this reason, I knew that it was an inspiration of God. And God took measures to protect me in a miraculous manner, because, as I told you, the whole Department of State, the patriarch, the bishops, the professors and everyone were against me, yet they did not throw me out before I had finished the sermons to the youth. Can you imagine this? It’s incredible! It’s incredible! Everybody was against me, but they did not have the courage to stop me. They closed the door of the church, but they did not throw me out. I had asked God to let me deliver these seven sermons, and He said, “I will let you.” When that was finished, I asked God to let me deliver the eighth sermon to justify myself, but He said, “You do not need to justify yourself, because I am justified.”

  9. Dionysius Redington says

    What, no ‘Anti-Vaxxer Option’?

    Fr. Alexander, in addition to the various credentials mentioned above, has long been associated with secular right-wing causes in America. Here he says he is against ever ‘profiting’ from crimes committed in the past. This seems to be a curious change of course from his most famous book, in which he argues that pacifism is an ‘option’ for the perfect, but that war is justifiable for ordinary Christians. It would be interesting to know Fr. Alexander’s current opinions on reparations for slavery, the return of all US territory to the American Indians, and unilateral disarmament.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Dionysius, of course Fr Alexander will answer for himself but if you had read his book regarding just war theory, you would know that he stands in the train of the Church Fathers in this regard. There is nothing wrong with war qua war. I realize that this sounds shocking but at no point in the Bible (OT or NT) is the profession of arms condemned.

      Indeed, it is lauded (“For the king does not hold the sword in vain but as a terror to evildoers.”) Because neither Prophets, nor Apostles, nor even Jesus Himself condemned warriors for being warriors, it stands to reason that war itself is not to be condemned.

      That’s the short answer as far as war and pacifism is concerned. I personally think that the pacific option is viable only for the singular individual who has no temporal obligations; i.e. family, tribe or citizenship. In this respect, I disagree with Fr Alexander.

      As for your criticism regarding the Amerindians and slavery, the fact remains that the Amerindians did not possess any of the lands but ranged over them. I am presently reading an excellent essay on the Plains Indians which I hope to publish soon. The Indians did not cultivate the land or had any concept of land ownership before the arrival of the Europeans. The wars in which they engaged with the Europeans were no different than what they waged against each other. (As for the atrocities which they perpetrated, they put anything that happened in Europe to shame.)

      I write this not as an anti-Indian bigot –far from it–I’m from Oklahoma and have a profound respect for their culture. I’m also devoted to setting the historical record straight. In fact, one thing I respect about the Amerindians is their refusal to engage in victimology. Their self-understanding of their history is far from lachrymose. (I wish even my people weren’t so “Oh poor us! Horrible Turks!”.)

      As for slavery, what of it? Whatever capital gains were derived from African slavery were wiped out by the American Civil War. The larger question is this: is slavery qua slavery wrong? Ordinarily, I’d say “yes”. But given the American Establishment’s devotion to peonage, I have to wonder. We know why the RINO/Chamber of Commerce types want Mesoamerican helots in America –to drive down wages. But the Dems are no different. Nancy Pelosi owns vineyards in California. Those grapes don’t pick themselves. Cesar Chavez tried to help the migrant workers and he knew that that could only happen if the southern border was secure.

      So the broader question is this: can civilization survive without cheap labor? In any event, slavery has come roaring back in Africa thanks to Obama’s tenure.

    • Europeans taking over the newly-discovered American lands was like Israel crossing the Jordan into Canaan. They all got what they deserved. Give nothing back to the pagans.

      • The Israelites were the people of God, who had been commanded to enter that land for a specific time period and for a specific reason, by God directly. The Freemasons, protestants and Judaizers, Deists, merchants, etc. that came here from Europe were certainly NOT the people of God, and certainly were NOT commanded to enter this land for any reason, not by God anyway. I’m unclear on your reasoning – how exactly did the Native Americans get what they deserved? They got totally wiped out and now have to live on little crappy reservations. They don’t have any more buffalo, so they drink and gamble. This is sad, this is nothing to gloat over, you know. The Israelites were kicked off of their land by God, they were scattered, as the culmination of a long process of disobedience to God, violation of the Law, worshiping pagan gods, and the killing of Christ. So that land was given conditionally, and the Jews violated those conditions. I usually hear that “Europeans came to America just like the Jews came to Canaan” thing from protestants a lot, as if they had some obvious divine mandate to kill every Indian in their path or something, as if America is some kind of new “promised land,” but this is the first time I’ve ever heard it from an Orthodox person. The Israelites went into that land for the purpose of creating a kingdom which would prepare the world for the birth of Christ. What was the point of the Europeans coming here? They set up a secular empire that quickly sought world dominance and is now collapsing internally, making way for a global government of antichrist. It’s a pretty big difference.

        • I wrote nothing about a mandate, but it all happened with God’s providential permission. The Europeans were used to smite the pagans. Aztecs were tearing the hearts of out living people, for crying out loud. Theirs was an empire built on blood. Something like 90% of human remains found in Apache lands had violent head injuries. The sin of the Amorites had reached its full measure, if you will.

          Just like God allows the Turks, Arabs, Huns, Mongols, et al to smite disobedient Christians, so too can He use the heterodox to smite the pagans. God is God; He does what He wants.

      • Rd. Nicolas says

        The Cherokee were Christians. They were literate. They cultivated their land. The Supreme Court ruled they had legal ownership of their land and could not be forced off of it. They were still forced off of it with violence, and forced to march in inhuman conditions resulting in the deaths of some 4000 Christian souls. And they were far from the only Amerindian Nation within our current borders who cultivated their land, and far from only that were abused and killed despite being Christian.

        Americans took zero land from the Aztecs. Their bloodthirsty society was destroyed 86 years before the first Jamestown colonist arrived in the New World.

        • That’s why I said Europeans, not ‘Americans.’ I’m not talking about the Trail of Tears, but the arrival of the Conquistadors and the like.

  10. anonimus per Scorilo says

    I am sorry, but Dr. Engelhardt, God rest his soul, was the most cogent Orthodox expert in bioethics who ever lived.

    I do not know what Fr. Alexander’s qualifications in bioethics are, but I do not believe it is correct to accuse the late Dr. Engelhardt of “sophistry” and “dubious analogies,” on an issue where Dr. Engelhard was an expert and Fr. Alexander is not.

    Furthermore, Fr. Alexander’s own Patriarch, as well as Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev have received a vaccine against the coronavirus. It is not known what vaccine Patriarch Kirill has received, but Metropolitan Hilarion has received the Sputnik V, which is also produced using HEK-293 cells.

    • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster says

      Whoever you are, “anonimus,” the question each Orthodox Christian should ask himself concerns which moral argument about COVID-19 vaccines is most persuasive, not the identity of the authors of such moral arguments. As much as I respected Professor Engelhardt on bioethical issues, I concluded that his analysis was incorrect on this issue for the reasons I provided. I stand by that moral analysis and my decision to eschew any of the current COVID-19 vaccines irrespective of what other Orthodox Christians may choose to do.

    • apS: “Dr. Engelhardt, God rest his soul, was the most
      cogent Orthodox expert in bioethics who ever lived.”

      And your qualifications for making such a judgement are …?

    • Michael Bauman says

      “Experts” just tend to be wrong slightly less often than the rest of us IF they stay reasonably humble. From experience I know Fr. Alexander is that way.

      Bioethics is dicey as practically everything we do to maintain our bodies medically is tainted with evil, greed and hubris.

      Even going to a doctor has become somewhat of a moral dilemma for me and I get home and make sure I pray with my prayer rope for myself and the med folks.

      If our bishops would call a vigil of prayer and repentance regarding COVID, it would bring healing and insight I am sure.

      Lacking that, I am left to my own resting in His mercy and the sure and certain hope of His Resurrection.

  11. Hey, does anyone know what’s happening at Jordanville? Their website has a “Coronavirus Update” as of April 7th that says, “By the directive of our ruling bishop, Metropolitan Hilarion, pilgrims are discouraged from visiting the Monastery for the duration of the coronavirus crisis. + Bishop Luke”

    • Sure enough Rufus. So disappointing to see this.

      Honestly, nothing that’s happened (in terms of Church and Monastery closings) in the last year from the GOA, Antioch, OCA has surprised me. But I’ll be honest, I expected so much more from ROCOR. Very, very disappointing.

    • I have some contacts there, having visited a couple of times in the past. Without divulging too much information, there was some very heavy-handed policing there last year as the local authorities in the predominately rural area were worried about large numbers of people from places like Brooklyn, New Jersey, etc. coming into the area and turning it into an apocalyptic COVID wasteland.

      My interpretation is that ‘discouraging’ is a way of keeping numbers down, so as to avoid any trouble, without necessarily ‘forbidding’ anyone. No monastery – especially a Russian monastery in America during these times of Russophobic hysteria – wants to be considered ground zero for a county-wide COVID outbreak and provoke the ill-will of the local normies.

      • Basil,
        Thank you for sharing this. Good info. I appreciate it.

        • Rd. Nicolas says

          Here is Jordanville’s position on the vaccines. It is people’s lack of trust in our saintly bishops that I find disappointing.

          • Nicolas, nice try there, but you missed on two huge (and obvious) points. First, the good Bishop basically said, do as you wish. So do explain how people are not trusting our saintly Bishops, by doing as they wish?

            Secondly, do tell, how many people is THIS Bishop over? From a quick look at the Dioscean website, it seems not many. So when you say “people’s lack of trust….” unless you’re only referring to the handful of people in and around Jordanville, then your point makes no sense at all.

            Lastly, there are many saintly people in The Church who have said that we should not receive the vaccine. So, which saintly people should we listen to and which saintly people should we ignore? That’s a rhetorical question with an easy answer. For me, I’ll ignore the sainly ones who closed our Churches and Monasteries for a year, and looked to lawyers and secular govt agencies for their ques on how to handle this situation. But maybe that’s just me.

            • Alan, a bishop is still a bishop, regardless of the number of people he is over. The charism doesn’t change, whether he is the patriarch or a vicar bishop.

              While I’m not in disagreement with your points, using that argument is school recess-level and it gets on my goat. Saint Gregory the Theologian was bishop over a handful of people in his chapel of the Anastasis, but he was still the true Patriarch of Constantinople and the bulwark of Orthodoxy.

              If we follow this mindset, then the argument posed elsewhere on this thread – one bishop contra mundi, such as Saint Athanasius or Saint Mark – falls apart because, how many people were they bishop over?

              Otherwise, keep fighting the good fight.

              • Basil, the obvious point was, he’s not my Bishop.

                You also didn’t address my larger point: he essentially said to do as you wish. Given that, how is it even possible to be going against the Bishop?

                • Look above: “While I’m not in disagreement with your points”

                  It was your argumentation that I found to be problematic, not your position or even Bishop Luke’s, which I find to be a sound medium.

            • Rd. Nicolas says

              Not sure what you are trying to prove Alan, but you are picking at bones where there are none. The people not trusting their bishops are the ones claiming all bishops have apostatized because of how they have responded to the pandemic. If you do not know any of these people you are truly blessed.

              Rufus asked what is happening in Jordanville, and I provided an answer with the link to Bishop Luke of Jordanville’s article on whether it is permissible to receive the new COVID-19 vaccines.

    • Michael Bauman says

      My niece is at Jordanville with her husband as he studies for the priesthood. They, along with several others, including at least four priests came down with COVID. My niece and her husband are recovering well but two of the priests are still in hospital with pneumonia.

      So, discouraging visitors might be a good idea.

  12. Concerning the use of fetal cell lines in vaccines, the shocking and illuminating circumstances of how those cell lines are developed tells the entire story. It is not obtained through the technically true but extremely deceptive statement that vaccines contain or make use of cell lines from only one remote abortion.

    For example, in the HEK-293 cell line used in COVID vaccines, the 293 is the number of experiments used to develop that cell line; it represents hundreds of abortions, e.g., no mention of the hundreds of little boys and girls, cut up on the laboratory table, tissues parted out, and then discarded in medical waste because they did not yield the desired result. For another example, the rubella vaccine used 67 abortions to produce the rubella virus plus 32 abortions to produce the cell line for a total of at least 99 elective abortions [dead boys and girls] for one vaccine.

    Another important part of this story is that cell line development requires viable cells. As you may recall, humans cannot put life into dead cells. This means that the tissues/cells must be obtained very soon, in less than 5 minutes, after the baby has died, or before. Thus, there is a direct connection between the abortions and the medical experiments. It is not the case that the abortion happened, and then the baby parts were sitting around a pathology lab somewhere and someone says, oh, I could use that to develop a cell line. No, the initial tissues had to be procured deliberately and in conjunction with the abortion.

    “Whenever possible the embryo was removed from the amniotic sac.., transferred to a sterile towel and kept at 5 c until dissected.”[Enders, Weller, et al, Nobel Prize for polio research]

    “This is where things get very disturbing, because in most cases it’s not a “simple abortion.” They will actually deliver these babies via cesarean section. The babies are still alive when the researchers start extracting the tissue; to the point where their heart is still beating, and they’re generally not given any anesthetic, because that would disrupt the cells that the researchers are trying to extract.” [P. Acker, LifeSite News]

    “A new approach was made by the use of 3- to 4-months-old human embryos, obtained aseptically by Cesarean section…The brain and cord, the lungs, kidneys, liver, and spleen were stored in the refrigerator, fragments of these tissues being taken for the preparation of media at 3-day intervals.” [Albert Sabin]

    “Human embryos of two and one-half to five months gestation were obtained from the gynaecological department of the Toronto General Hospital…No macerated specimens were used and in many of the embryos the heart was still beating at the time of receipt in the virus laboratory.” [Drs. Thicke, Duncan, Rhodes]

    Now the question is WHY? It is not because human cells are needed at all. It is because animal rights activists care more for animals than we do for little boys and girls. They have made it extremely difficult and expensive for medical research to use animals.

    Now what do we do? If we accept vaccines that utilized fetal cell lines, are we not like a person fencing stolen items in a pawn shop, “Of course, I do not approve of stealing. Oh, let’s see what you have for me today?” How does that work in a secular court of law? How about in the toll houses? And does not our acceptance of such vaccines encourage the escalation of abortion-related medical research, especially with the proposed new law that extends abortion to babies delivered alive.

    Can we make a difference? Yes. Because of the anti-vaxxers, there are now vaccines that do not use human cells. An example is Sanofi’s use of cell line from the fall armyworm. Fr. Alexander Webster lists many more example of acceptable vaccines in the lead article above. These are the result of the market created by those refusing unacceptable vaccinations and is proof that if animal rights activists can make such as a difference, then those who care about babies can also make a difference, as long as we don’t keep pleading impotence as in what-can-I-do.

    For further information, I suggest reading the following references.




    (Link provided in




  13. Austin Martin says

    While I certainly appreciate such a long, thought-out treatment, this shouldn’t even be a controversy. Obviously there aren’t piles of bodies in the streets. Therefore the pandemic is a hoax. They are pushing this vaccine as a cure for a pandemic that doesn’t exist. That alone should make you suspicious.

    And often it’s free. In what other context is free drugs a good idea? They are begging you to take experimental drugs, which are not at all a vaccine in the conventional sense, for a virus that is at best a mild annoyance. How is anyone falling for this? Who can look at Fauci and Gates and Biden and say, “Yeah that guy’s trustworthy”?

    And I know otherwise intelligent people who are extremely critical of the pandemic but get the vaccine. It’s schizophrenic. One is a restaurant owner whose business is destroyed.

    • “Obviously there aren’t piles of bodies in the streets. Therefore the pandemic is a hoax. They are pushing this vaccine as a cure for a pandemic that doesn’t exist. That alone should make you suspicious.”

      Super nasty, cataclysmic, Covid-19 virus.

      Please remain calm, be very afraid, because the vaccine’s coming and we’ll all be safe, in the mean time, think of all the pennies you’ll save, because you can’t go to work, so you won’t get paid. You can see our hospitals are so “busy,” our patients don’t have a chance, because all we want to do is dance. But your violent rioting won’t be tolerated, unless your best friend’s grandma was once segregated. All you MAGA hats, and you tinfoil caps, religious worshippers, socializers and exercisers, are just disturbing the peace, and we can’t have that. Can’t have you out here distorting the “facts,” so we have to use the batons when we beat and arrest you, now kindly pay the fine we just sent you. Stay locked all night, give up all your rights, but we can break the Rona rules, because we’re just a bunch of dancing tools. Do as we say, not as we do, even if you’re ninety-two, because there’s six of us and only one of you. In the hospitals, where our hands are “full,” dealing with the Covid “death,” we’re dancing around like we’re on Meth. All our empty beds screwing with your heads, banging on your pots and pans, for the frontline frauds at NHS. Why are you so shy? You can’t see our guy, we told you he’s too busy, dancing around on MTV. You can’t see your daddy dying in our beds, or hold his hand before he’s dead, but you can follow us on Twitter instead.

  14. Rd. Nicolas says

    These are arguments for why we should be guiding people away from the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and towards the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines.

    As Vladika Luke of Holy Trinity Monastery put it,
    “Among the valid concerns two are noteworthy: long-term trials are lacking and aborted fetal cells were used in research. While some conventional vaccines apparently utilize these cell lines in production, the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines do not.”

    • Wise words indeed from Bishop Luke.

    • The Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines
      “were tested in culture against fetal cells”; that’s ‘fetal cells’ as from ‘dead babies’.

      Also, for the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines, “long-term trials are lacking”.

      • And also from His Grace Bishop Luke:

        “…the one line of anxiety that seems excessive is that the mRNA vaccine rewrites human DNA. According to published articles, the mRNA does not enter the nucleus, does not reverse transcribe into DNA, and is merely a means to elicit protein production.”

        and most importantly:

        “As with other similar considerations in medical care, Orthodox faithful need neither to seek a special blessing to receive vaccines nor are they forbidden to receive them.”

      • RIP (reluctant internet poster) says

        “The Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines
        “were tested in culture against fetal cells”; that’s ‘fetal cells’ as from ‘dead babies’.”

        Do ya’ll distinguish between cell lines that were grown in a lab from dead babies and cells from actual dead babies?

        “Fetal cell lines are cells that grow in a laboratory. They descend from cells taken from elective abortions in the 1970s and 1980s. Those individual cells from the 1970s and 1980s have since multiplied into many new cells over the past four or five decades, creating fetal cell lines. Current fetal cell lines are thousands of generations removed from the original fetal tissue. They do not contain any tissue from a fetus.”

        That’s not a rhetorical question. I’m honestly asking if you believe there is a real distinction here or a distinction without a difference.

        • Debbie Vinedge:

          ‘ MYTH: “Descendant cells are not part of the original aborted fetus…”

          FACT: The DNA is intact and identical to first cells harvested. If not, FDA and WHO would require a test each time cells were used. By its very definition, these are human diploid cells that contain the DNA from both parents – they do not morph into anything else over time. ‘

        • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster says

          I addressed precisely that question in section II.1 of my article above:

          [NOTE: Whether a vaccine was grown in, derived from, or tested with a fetal kidney or retinal cell is a distinction without a moral difference: the process is still ultimately connected to a heinous act of abortion.]

        • Rd. Nicolas says

          @RIP, good question. If we could ever get actually ethically conservative laws passed then perhaps we could put to rest the “cell lines” of those two aborted children. There is nothing that can be done with them that cannot be done with adult stem cells or umbilical cord blood stem cells. It is infernal laziness that keeps them “relevant” to research.

          In the case of the mRNA vaccines, as Fr. Alexander said, the cells of one of these children were used to show the mRNA vaccine was safe for human cells. This was utterly unnecessary and had zero impact on the development of the mRNA vaccine. Any human cell could have been used to the same effect. They used stem cells because, thanks to our laws, they are readily available. Moreover no testing on individual cells to prove safety was necessary in the first place.

          In my opinion, all Americans bear responsibility for the heinous act of using fetal stem cells in “safety testing” because it is an artifact of the legal system we have jointly crafted. If you and I cared sufficiently we would have ended this horror years ago, but we don’t and so we haven’t.

          On the other hand, I am surprised to see Orthodox Christian farther down in these comments recommending we listen to AAPS on COVID. The AAPS has recommended chloroquine be used in the treatment of COVID. Chloroquine was developed by the Nazis through horribly unethical experiments on human subjects in concentration camps. I can’t help but wonder why no one here seems concerned with the unethical development of chloroquine.

          • Quite honestly, Reader Nicolas, I have had the same thought, though I confess I was unaware of this piece of information about hydroxychloroquine. How many of us, knowingly or unknowingly, benefit from Nazi experiments or advances made in medicine and other fields as a direct result of manifest evils?

            This is not to say that I think we should all take the vaccine. I most certainly do not. Nor will I be taking any of them myself. It is to say that our warfare is not against flesh and blood. Is there a conspiracy? Yes! There most certainly is. But the adversary of our souls and his demonic minions are surely laughing with glee – both over those in authority (Church, civil, cultural, media, etc.) whom they have managed to blind, as well as over those whom they have managed to convince that mere men, no matter how rich or powerful, are smart enough or organized enough to execute the conspiracy they have concocted against us.

            None of us – none – are or can be free of sin regardless of how moral we may strive to be. And although I very much appreciate the information that can be gleaned from this blog (and the comments thereon), the recent comment here by a certain Papa Ieramias is, I believe, the one we should most take to heart. We are seeking ‘good information’ (which in its place is proper) when we should be seeking repentance – which by definition is a turning toward as well as away.

    • Towards the experimental gene therapies? LOL, I’ll pass.

      Gee, it’s almost like virtually nobody in America knows about the Tuskegee experiment. I mean, our govt truly loves all of us and would never in a million years do anything to harm us.

      • Gail Sheppard says

        This is a prime example of the Stockholm syndrome and they think we’re the crazy ones.

  15. Robert Collins says

    At last! Thank you for this cogent explication of the issues here. The one thing I would add is the (seldom mentioned) use of humanised mice in the testing of medicines and vaccines. This is not a mad conspiracy but is now commonplace. Some vaccines may claim not have been tested on fetal cell lines but may have been tested on such mice – a phenomenon which is, in my opinion, even more grotesque:

    • Gail Sheppard says

      Not just mice, either. They put these cells in other animals, too. I guess the animals keep them alive.

      The reason they like fetal cells is because a cell usually divides up to 50 times over the course of a lifetime and if you get cells from an older person, the cells stop dividing that much sooner.

      There are stable cell lines that do not use fetal cells.

      For example, there is one called HeLa, after Henrietta Lacks, a black tobacco farmer from southern Virginia who got cervical cancer when she was 30. Her cells were taken from a cervical tumor. They’re immortal for some reason!

      They often use (cancer) tumor cells from people because they’re so robust and prolific but her’s have the added benefit of not dying! They didn’t tell her or ask her permission, either. The powers-that-be have made a lot of money on her.

  16. Jane Tzilvelis says

    Father Peter Heers excellent commentary on the “vaccines.”

  17. There is more to this than just the covid vaccine.
    The more I learn about the abortion industry the more sickening it becomes.
    Many medicines are tested on aborted baby cells not just the covid vaccines.
    Most foods we buy and eat that have artificial flavorings. Those flavorings and colorings were likely tested on aborted baby cells.
    The clothes we wear are colored with artificial coloring which was likely tested on aborted baby cells.
    Bandages ( bandaids ) were tested on aborted baby cells.
    Anything labeled hypoallergenic has likely been tested on aborted baby cells.
    Make-up and hair coloring has likely been tested on aborted baby cells.
    Of course the list goes on. Why do the manufacturers do this? Money?
    Instead of paying hundreds or thousands of people to test their products for adverse reactions it’s simply cheaper and faster to use murdered baby parts.
    What are we to do? Can we grow all our food , make our clothing , use natural herbs for medicine and generally avoid society? I have considered it but I don’t know how practical it is for most people.
    Let’s pray for our Bishops and Patriarchs to guide us in the right direction.

  18. I just had the first dose of the Pfizer Vaccine at Cleveland Clinic-Florida. Cleveland Clinic is a well oiled machine and everything went off like clockwork.
    I feel fine . My arm isn’t sore and , so far, no side effects.

    • I pray that continues, Stephen.

    • As I told you last week, those side effects may not show up for years. Are you so frightened of coronavirus that you would gamble with your health like this? Can you help me to understand why you did this?

      • Herman,
        I fear Stephen does not understand the risks involved in his decision.
        But, I do not think he is wholly (or even mostly) to blame for this.
        The corruption of the medical and political establishment and media
        by the money and lies of the billionaires and the eugenicists,
        who are making their big grab for power, is where the fault lies.
        How many casualties there will ultimately be, I don’t know.
        But if you read the Georgia Guidestones and do the sums,
        you can get a good idea of how many they want there to be.

        • StephenD says

          I had my second shot of the Pfizer vaccine this morning . So far no side effects and , this time , not even a sore arm. Cleveland Clinic once again came through and I’m glad that I trusted my MD. My parish is opening up because Florida has lifted all restrictions on COVID-19. I just hope and pray there isn’t a surge in cases.

          • Gail Sheppard says

            You had fewer side effects because of your age. Generally, it is young people (20s, 30s) with robust immune systems who react to the device when it’s inserted. Everything else you reported is typical. Although sometimes unpleasant, the side effects are nothing.

            It is the adverse events we’ve been talking about on the blog. In previous studies with animals, they were fine after the injections, too. But weeks/months down the road, when they encountered the viruses in their environment, (there are at least 7 that impact humans) their immune systems went into overdrive and attacked their vital organs. Most, if not all, died.

            There won’t be a surge in cases because they rejiggered the PCR tests and changed the policy of testing everyone all the time and calling each event as if it were a patient. My daughter’s roommate is responsible for 6 positive cases, but she is only one person. So what you were used to seeing was the number of times someone tested positive. Not the number of individual people who tested positive.

            • StephenD says

              I’m a lot older than you think Gail . It isn’t the years that count though; it’s the mileage .

              • Gail Sheppard says

                Well, I know you’re not 20 or 30! I figured that was a safe benchmark.

          • “I had my second shot of the Pfizer vaccine this morning . So far no side effects ”

            So, you’re three months, five days, ahead of the latest doctor (48 years old) to take both mRNA shots of one of the “vaccines,” mock the anti-vaxxers, and die.


            Dr. Thomas Flanigan received the first dose of experimental Moderna mRNA on January 6, according to his Facebook page. He received the second dose on February 3.

            Sometime thereafter (it’s unclear exactly when), he wrote his own obituary, in the same mocking fashion as the foregoing Facebook post. It is reminiscent of the Polish doctor we wrote about in February. But the surrealism surrounding this story is unmatched compared to any other story we’ve written thus far.

            First, none of the media outlets that covered this story (except the New York Post) mentioned that Dr. Flanigan received experimental Moderna mRNA shots in January and February. However, the Post, like the other outlets, wrote that his cause of death is “not clear.” Second, the headlines are practically celebrating his death, perhaps in an attempt to deflect attention away from the Moderna shots.

            They refer to the obituary as “hilarious,” “incredible” and other strange adjectives given the situation.

          • Brendan says

            So far so good. I pray this continues for you.
            But, be under no illusion, the experiment continues.

  19. Lord have mercy, Father Alexander, if you do not know that there IS ALREADY A MORAL ALTERNATIVE which has been hidden by the evil one from the view of the MSM and Big Pharma/Medicine to the absolute grief of Orthodox Christian and other physicians who know differently and see evidence in real life.

    The US Conference of Catholic Bishops only allows the morally-repellent use of vaccines associated with fetal cell lines because there “is no alternative.”

    Would Christ leave us with such a dilemma? He has not!

    Is it surprising that Christ has provided a safe, ethical, effective and inexpensive (for the poor and vulnerable) alternative? He healed both physically and spiritually and continues to wish for us to do the same without moral compromise. Please educate yourselves, especially Orthodox clergy and physicians. Please see for their handbook, their resource hyperlink to help. No one vulnerable in my hearing publicly and privately who has used these protocols and become infected has been hospitalized much less developed long-term debilitation from COVID or died. No one has had side effects. Used in poor countries as public mental health but not in Pharma driven USA. Please recognize the work of the evil one in blinding us. Please do not talk about numbers or “only the vulnerable” will die as if we Orthodox do not care about each individual, but especially the vulnerable. Christ came to the poor outcasts of the world and judges us on how we help them and protect them. Please do not think like the world about numbers, especially when he has given us in His usual quiet humble fashion the answers…from quiet humble physicians and scientists hoping to help the poor and the vulnerable, not harm them morally or physically.

    My ROCOR priest was the first Orthodox priest I have heard mention publicly in last Sunday’s homily that there IS this safe effective alternative. Does no other Orthodox priest know or share this with his or her flock? Lord have mercy.

  20. Orthodox Physicians says


    Axios and thank you for your concern about our spiritual well-being, Father. Thank God that there IS ALREADY A MORAL ALTERNATIVE which has been hidden by the evil one from the view of the MSM and Big Pharma/Medicine to the absolute grief of Orthodox Christian and other Christian physicians who know differently and see evidence in real life of the effectiveness of this Christ-like solution! There is NO reason to be compromised by doing evil for a purported greater good.

    The US Conference of Catholic Bishops only allows the morally-repellent use of vaccines associated with fetal cell lines because there “is no alternative” known to them.

    Would Christ leave us with such a dilemma? At this point in history, He has not!

    Instead through altruistic others, Christ has provided a safe, ethical, effective and inexpensive (for the poor and vulnerable) alternative. He healed both physically and spiritually and continues to wish for us to do the same without moral compromise. Please educate yourselves, especially Orthodox clergy and physicians. Please see for their handbook, their resource hyperlink to help. No one vulnerable in my hearing publicly and privately who has used these protocols and become infected has been hospitalized much less developed long-term debilitation from COVID or died. No one has had side effects. Used in poor countries as public mental health but not in Pharma driven USA. Please recognize the work of the evil one in blinding us. Please do not talk about numbers or “only the vulnerable” will die as if we Orthodox do not care about each individual, but especially the vulnerable. Christ came to the poor outcasts of the world and judges us on how we help them and protect them. Please do not think like the world about numbers, especially when he has given us in His usual quiet humble fashion the answers…from quiet humble physicians and scientists hoping to help the poor and the vulnerable, not harm them morally or physically.

    My ROCOR priest was the first Orthodox priest I have heard mention that here IS this safe effective alternative to novel gene therapy vaccines or new medications, untested with possible harmful effects. I pray the “good news” will spread throughout the world of Orthodox clergy to their flocks as well as in OCAMPR and in the world of Medicine. Many can be spared dreadful suffering and possible death from COVID and from lockdowns which are fueled by the ignorance of these remedies. The restriction on normal worship in Orthodox Churches can be argued against easily when these simple inexpensive remedies are known. The fear in Orthodox clergy and their flock is fueled by a lie.

    • Rd. Nicolas says

      Why not hold AAPS to the same standard Fr. Alexander has outlined above? They have advocated using Chloroquine, a drug by the Nazis through horribly unethical experiments on human subjects in concentration camps, to treat COVID.

  21. Gail Sheppard says

    What jumped out at me regarding the source of the document circulated by the bishops is that it was the product of the Orthodox Theological Society in America (OTSA) who are theologians, not medical doctors.

    Their first statement is the vaccines (all of them) are “safe” and “effective.” Until the trials are over, no one knows. If the OTSA doesn’t even understand this, of what value is their medical opinion? There are so many errors in this document, I can’t even begin to count them.

  22. Papa Ieramias says

    Sweet ones in Christ, our life on this side of eternity is quite a moral conundrum. It is, indeed, problematic. But we should be aware that the fetal cell line, HEK-293, is used in testing all manner of products. If we want to follow this argument through to it’s conclusion, we must then eradicate from our lives all products that are tested using this cell line. This includes health and beauty products from Bayer, Johnson and Johnson, food additives of all kinds, products from the Nestle Company, and more. If there is a moral conundrum, it precedes the development of these vaccines, and extends far beyond them. While it’s powerful to unveil the illness of a world that would even seek to justify the use of aborted fetal cells for the ‘benefit’ of mankind using current vaccines as a case-study, true integrity would demand that we carry this logical through to its conclusion. In my appraisal, this aborted fetal cell argument is relevant, but also a small part of the greater distrust of governments, social consciousness, growing secularization, and unseen warfare (of which very few of us a truly sensitive and aware). Unfortunately I perceive that while there are many reactionary voices, there are few dispassionate ones serving as true guides – so many living life on ‘principle’ and very few who have found the place of the heart where our beautiful Savior dwells, and from whence truth can be spoken with authority. I pray that such voices persons would be revealed and that we would have the ears to hear them; but, we must be warned, that they would undoubtedly begin by exhorting us to put to death self-righteousness and self-satisfaction, perhaps few of us would want to hear this as a precent, we we just rather be ‘right’ and dwell in our comfortable hypocrisy. I pray that our Lord will grant us the faith and courage to bear witness from the depth with true integrity in the days to come. Forgive me.

    • Thank you for those wise words, Fr. I remember someone once, when asked why there were no true spiritual fathers anymore, they said, “Because there are no true disciples anymore.” I wish I could claim I was an exception but I’m not. But that’s been the hardest part of the last year. On all these issues the Church is divided. Emminent voices on both sides of every issue. My conscience tells me something, but there’s always that nagging sense of doubt saying, “But maybe you’re wrong.”

      • You are quite right Seraphim, I feel the same way. I have agonised over the issue of getting the vaccine for weeks (possibly months). Every time I think I’ve come to a conclusion, that nagging doubt comes again. I am not a saint, I am not a theologian…..I’m just a poor sinner looking to follow Christ as best I can. My Priest tells me it’s a matter of conscience, far more godly men than I can’t seem to agree. What hope is there for the rest of us? I have no choice but to simply entrust myself to God’s mercy.

        • Rd. Nicolas says

          I know my bishops in ROCOR are godly men and that the Holy Spirit keeps them in line. I trust them when they tell me there is nothing morally objectionable about the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, as I trust their opinion above my own in many things.

          I am frankly shocked that there are some people who think every Orthodox bishop in the world can be simultaneously wrong about these vaccines (and anything else about coronavirus). They think they themselves are St. Mark of Ephesus, forgetting that he was a bishop and that he was never alone, remaining in communion with the bishops of all the other autocephalous Churches.

          In Orthodoxy we believe the Holy Spirit guides the Church of Christ though the canonical, apostolic bishops. If we find ourselves not following any particular bishop, we find ourselves outside the Orthodox Church. As St. Ignatius warned us in the 2nd century (when the Church was assaulted on all sides by gnostic gurus claiming to be the only ones with the true knowledge of salvation) where the bishop is, there is the Church.

          • “I trust them when they tell me there is nothing morally objectionable about the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, as I trust their opinion above my own in many things. I am frankly shocked that there are some people who think every Orthodox bishop in the world can be simultaneously wrong about these vaccines (and anything else about coronavirus).”

            Here you go. It only takes one, if laymen listen to even a super majority of bishops, and they’re wrong, it is each individual’s own fault, because they didn’t heed the one/few that were right.

            Greek Orthodox Bishop: Do not take the COVID-19 vaccine because it is made from aborted fetuses

            I suspect that the Russian state has always known Covid is a fraud, and the vaccines are the actual depopulation and transgenic (Beast tech) agent, and has only played along to save as many people as possible with a safe alternative. Belarus never masking up, locking down, and exposing the sham resulted in them trying to do a coup there, and the much more important/visible Russia doing the same could’ve meant open war.

            • Rd. Nicolas says

              Lord have mercy!

              The Russian government–which rarely pays more than ceremonial deference to the Russian Church on issues from abortion (Russian taxpayer dollars pay for most abortions through their government health care, resulting in more abortions each year than in the US despite Russia having half as many people; credit where credit is due, though: Russia has decreased its number of abortions by almost 50% in the last decade, compared to the US’s decrease of 22%, unfortunately not by increased respect for human life but because the marriage rate and pregnancy rate have dropped by about 50%), respect for the Royal Martyrs (they banned The Death of Stalin movie, but refused requests by the Church that Matilda be banned, and Putin refused to go to the huge commemoration events in Yekaterinburg marking the 100th anniversary of their martyrdom), or anything else that isn’t politically profitable–is not even trying to hide that the Sputnik V vaccine is made in the cells of murdered babies. It is fully as bad as the Johnson & Johnson vaccine!

          • Sigh…you’ve made this point multiple times.

            Just because you mention St Mark, doesn’t mean his example was wrong. His story actually disproves what you’re saying. Virtually everyone else (Bishops) went along with the false union. God gives us free will, and sometimes Bishops made bad decisions. We’re not Roman Catholics. We don’t believe the Bishops are infallible.

            Nicholas, the obvious point: Many of the Bishops CLOSED THE CHURCHES! They told people to stay home, they told people to not venerate the Holy Icons. All for a virus in which, of the minority of people who will even get it, 99.8% will survive.

            Thanks be to God, there were a handful of monasteries and Parishes that actually believed in the Faith.

    • Patrick M. Macdonald says

      Praise God for this message of true repentance! Despite every effort we may make to “live righteously” everything we touch is stained with sin known or unknown and we must beg God for mercy at all times.

    • AMEN!

  23. Another Reason Rulers Love Lockdowns

    [Video – 1:03]

    ‘ Yep, these cruel and destructive measures feed their egos and lust for power—-but as if that weren’t more than enough incentive, DC also pays them to imprison serfs in their homes. Here’s the execrable Head Cheese of Minnesota refusing to concede his emergency powers because the state will “lose” $35 million in “food security assistance” from the Feds: ‘

  24. Father John Romanides once said in his dogmatics class at Holy Cross that, in order for one to be an Orthodox theologian, one first must have ascended Mt. Tabor. Get it?

  25. Is it only right for medical science to test on cadavers when the person specifically donates their body to science? That sounds fair. Yet in the history of medicine, many cadavers have been used without the person’s consent. Do we disavow medical science because of this? How many medicines do we use today that are attributed to research on non-voluntary cadavers? OK, maybe those were historically cadavers of convicted criminals, but does the attributed “criminal conviction” somehow make it right? What if they were actually innocent?

    I have to wonder how many commonplace drugs used today are, or have been, tested on the same fetal cell lines derived from those two 1970’s abortion cadavers in question. There is certainly a big hoopla about the vaccines, but what about other commonplace medications?

    If we’re talking about the same drug companies, then my guess is it’s standard practice for most medications.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      We have used the tissue of living people without their permission. See Henrietta Lack.

  26. Michael Bauman says
  27. Paul,
    I understand what you’re saying. If I can be straight-foward, don’t fret about the “vaccine.” As a brother in Christ I would simply advise against it. Do not let fear drive you to make an unwise decision. There are much better options out there, not to mention an over 99 percent chance of survival no matter what. Live your life for Christ as best you can and leave the worrying to those with no hope.

    My turmoil has been in relation to the Church itself. If we’re talking about closures or multiple Communion spoons it’s one thing. But what about churches like mine where you can go but only with a mask, you can’t kiss the icons or the cross, etc etc etc. So you can go but only under this long set if conditions, all of which go against our practice and ethos. So what to do? Do we just go, even though it violates our conscience? Go to a church that’s doing things normally? Stay home? It’s just so hard to know how to feel about it all. What would our Saints say if they were here right now? It’s a mess.

    • Seraphim,

      Your best bet is to seek out a normal parish. We are not held to a particular jurisdiction in this country. Find parish that is operating business as usual without the nonsense, even if you have to drive several hours (there are a few but they don’t advertise for obvious reasons). Set up a chapel at home and do readers services when you cant get there. Talk to the priest as well. In which state do you live?.

      • Well said, dan.

      • Dan,
        That is in fact what we did. A very nice priest called around and found a parish 5 hours away. We talked to the priest and he was very nice. We went for the first time on the Sunday of the Holy Cross just a couple weeks ago, and are going back for Pascha. It’s just such a shame we’ve had to stoop to such measures when there are 3 Orthodox churches within about a half hour of us. Yet they are all towing the party line, as it were. We tried talking to our priest about our concerns, but to no avail. He is taking his cues from the CDC, looking with hope at the declining infection rates, etc. We loved and respected him. But we kept thinking, “why are we looking to them at all?” Are we really waiting for the CDC or WHO or Fauci to tell us when it’s safe to be normal? They aren’t even giving us answers in that vein anyway! Just the other day Congressman Jordan asked Fauci point blank what daily infection rate was low enough for Americans to get their freedoms back and he would not answer. Fauci’s been “vaccinated” and is still wearing a mask! That should tell us everything we need to know right there! And since when does the Church of Almighty God take their cues from the world?? Much less for a disease with an over 99% survival rate! Sorry, I’m very passionate about this. I feel like all the high-foluten words I heard about Orthodoxy as a catechumen and since have all been thrown out the window. All the while my wife and I have been made to feel we aren’t loving our brothers and sisters in Christ who could die from this virus.

        The second big concern we have is for our kids. They’ve been to church once in 4 months! We feel so inadequate to adequately pass on our Faith to them without regular church attendance. But if we go to a masked church, what faith are we really passing to them? “Kids, we keep telling you not to be afraid of death cause Christ has conquered it. So why are all these people wearing masks? Cause they’re afraid of death, whether of themselves or others. Why? Because they don’t really believe what they’re saying.” We can die at any moment. God determines it. Why go through life constantly afraid of it? God knows what to do with us! So that’s our second problem.

        As for a home chapel, we were looking into that months ago. I was talking to a couple guys from church who felt like I did and at first they seemed interested. Then not so much. And what’s more, they started spreading rumors that my wife and I were trying to start our own separate mission! Which was complete bullcrap. We feel so alone here. At least spiritually. But my wife’s family is all here and they have been tremendous help and support over the years. It just makes me sad that our spiritual family, who we should be even closer to, seems to have abandoned us. How do they not see what’s happening here?? This is NOT going away guys! This is not about a virus! “We’re in the endgame now.” Whew.

        • Gail Sheppard says

          I hear you, Seraphim.

        • Seraphim,

          You are not alone and many feel the same way. In traditionally Orthodox countries private chapels and Churches are quite common. If you have been to Greece, for example, they are everywhere. And yet we make such a big deal about them here. It’s silly. Any space can be set aside no matter how small. I dislike the term “icon corner” as this is essentially a chapel in the home. Speaking for my family we made the space more intentional but that was it. A simple analogion (or a music stand) and a cheap rug was all that was needed. The rug defines the space and an analogion is necessary for Readers Services even if you are downloading from the web.

          If you would like I can send you premade booklets for different Reader’s Services. My wife and I have been in several missions and in many cases had to continue for months or years until a priest was assigned so we have built up a bit of resourses. Perhaps George will pass on my email to you if you are interested.

        • You are certainly not alone, Seraphim. Our children have only been to church once this past year. No one is allowed in our parish without a mask. Not even for a one on one private conversation. Thankfully, my husband was able to take our oldest children to a parish three hours away to venerate the Kursk Root icon. My children are young so a three hour one way trip isn’t ideal.

          I also wonder if it is really loving your neighbor to consent and agree to the lies and propaganda we’re being inundated with?

          Lina, in many parishes that are very strict with mask attendance, one cannot greet their friends. Socializing indoors is forbidden at my parish. You can socialize outside only if you keep a six foot distance. Last year, an email was sent out scolding people for socializing under an awning. Singing, unless you are part of the choir, is forbidden. You can only be in the choir with members of your own household. What kind of environment is this? A friend of mine who went called it dreadful.

          People who were afraid of getting sick from Holy Communion are still afraid and still not taking Communion despite the “sanitary measures.”

          • People who were afraid of getting sick from Holy Communion are still afraid and still not taking Communion despite the “sanitary measures.”

            Of all the ‘sanitary’ measures mandated by our bishops, this is far and away the most faithless, doubt-provoking, and soul-destroying of them all. I firmly believe that in time the Church in heaven will reveal this travesty, this utter scandal of our shepherds, to the Church on earth to be one of the greatest heresies of all time. God forgive me, but I feel the anger of Saint Nicholas over this. I just want to slap them and say, “How dare you! Wake up!”

            • Gail Sheppard says

              If you’re doing something (or not doing something) out of fear, you are on the wrong path. We need to educate ourselves so the decisions we make are coming from strength; not fear.

          • “Thankfully, my husband was able to take our oldest children to a parish three hours away to venerate the Kursk Root icon. My children are young so a three hour one way trip isn’t ideal.”

            There’s a great internal migration going on inside the USA, as tens of millions of Americans flee from Democrats. If you’re able to relocate at all, I’d advise looking into it, and an exit plan from the USA itself, to an Old Calendar Orthodox country.

            • Myst, we already fled from the Democrats. We live in a mid-sized city that used to be reliably red. Unfortunately, over the last decade, they’ve come for college and decided to stay and “fix” the local “racists.” They used to leave after college. Hilariously, the parish three hours away is in a suburb of the typical Democrat-controlled hole.

              Our problem is all four parishes in a 1.5 hour radius are OCA under the same bishop. I really would like advice from others here. At what point does it become ok for parishioners to say, “ok if you won’t open the churches for normal worship, I will find a bishop who will?” There is no ROCOR parish here and the ROCOR bishop who would be over this area is allowing normal worship.

              Our parish will not function normally as long as our now-leftist city does not function normally. Currently the mayor is holding us hostage until 50% of the county residents get the shot. Therefore, the church is too. The church isn’t even in the city limits!

              • If the ROCOR bishop is allowing normal worship, petition for him to have a look at starting a mission, or do likewise with the nearest ROCOR priest. I assume that they might be willing to travel, or help setting something up.

              • If the bishop shuts down the Church or creates an impossible situation then all bets are off. If there is a canonical bishop who will give you a blessing then go for it. Grab onto whatever piece of the ship you can.

              • Michael Bauman says

                Juliana, if you don’t trust your bishop, leave. Connect with the ROCOR bishop

              • George Michalopulos says

                Juliana, if you would like to get a hold of Gail or me offline, perhaps we can help you find some resources to help you and your family out.

                • Thank you all for responding. Yes, the priest and bishop have created an impossible situation for my family.

                  George/ Gail, you can email me on the email I used to post.

                  • Gail Sheppard says

                    Yes, not a problem.

                  • Juliana, it may not seem like much, but, you should write to your bishop and priest and let them know why you are leaving. If everyone that is leaving did then then they would at least get the hint. I did this and actually received a response from a Metropolitan and the assistant to the Metropolitan. Whether or not they do something is up to them, but at least they know.

    • Why don’t you concentrate on what you can do at church instead of what you can’t do?
      I have gone to church for months now with a mask. I don’t like it but it is far better than staying home. I can still greet God and friends. I can pray and sing and take communion. I can greet the saints in the icons. I count my blessings and leave the rest to God.

      • Amen!!!

      • Agree to disagree. I’ve said my piece.

      • Michael Bauman says

        Lina, what you say is fine until one really listens to what we are praying. I finally did a couple of Sunday’s ago. I refuse to wear a mask any more. I am not alone. It became impossible to worship.

        It is simply not possible for my wife and I to make the trip to the nearest non-mask mandate parish.

        I wrote a letter to my bishop and priests about opening coffee hour(I worship in a cathedral parish) but they are not willing to disobey our Metropolitan). A really good exchange took place between our head priest and me. The most we have talked in awhile. Besides going to another parish seems like “Bishop shopping” to me. A practice I loath. I am following the advice a priest my brother knows “I mask, but sometimes I forget.” .
        So far, no one has said a thing to me plus I have anew friend who feels the same way.

        I was at a local restaurant Sat. My ex-boss happened to be there. He had a massive heaet attack about the time I retired and I had not seen gum since. I had worked with gum and saw him frequently for over 30 years yet did not recognize him until he took off his mask

        I wonder about what will happen to the young mother who was churched yesterday. The morher wore a mask. The priest did not.

        • 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

          36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.

          37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

          38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,

          39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

          St. Paul to the Romans

          God wants our hearts. And He often will take everything away from us in order to learn what we truly believe, sometimes even our lives. Job learned this. Paul learned this. both of these fellows lost what appears to be everything. They still believed. Maybe our time has come to have this experience .

        • Michael,
          This is what drives me nuts about the Antiochian Diocese, and others in our land. Your Bishop, Canonically, is NOT under anyone else. He’s a Bishop. He shouldn’t be “under” Met Joseph. But, I get what’s going on there (sadly).

      • Lina, I can’t speak for Seraphim but many believe wearing a mask in the Church to be blasphemous. It is interesting how the hierarchy moved to squash any discussion of whether it was right and instead jumped to the supposed health justification which is a huge red flag that something is rotten. Fr. Peter Heers has some excellent resources and discussion and yet he was accused of being an “…armchair bishop…”. To quote a much renowned bishop “…what an idea…”

        For the bishops to say they take it all on themselves is wrong. As Orthodox Christians we cannot follow directives that are contrary to the Faith no matter how well intentioned. When a Bishop or Priest directs us to do something contrary our obedience is to Christ and not to men. Read the lives of the Saints and you will see this to be true. Some Saints were persecuted by Hierarchs and Priests and yet they held fast and were exhonerated in the end. We too must hold fast but not become protestants or schismatics. There are ample examples in the Church that will help keep us grounded.

        • On the whole, I would agree that “bishop shopping” is a negative. Yet we have to be realistic about our situation here in America. In Russia, it was perfectly acceptable to go to different churches, priests, confessors, etc. But you were all still under the same jurisdiction. We are in a unique, and un-canonical situation here. Thankfully, I didn’t have to change jurisdictions in going to this other church. My issue is, when it comes to masks, “social distancing”, refraining from proper veneration of icons, wearing gloves, etc. these are not beneign issues. We are Orthodox. EVERYTHING we do has meaning. EVERYTHING we do has a theological underpinning. When we kiss an icon, we’re saying something about what we believe. When we don’t kiss an icon, we’re saying something about what we believe, and on and on it goes.

          • Jacob Lee says

            I remember before everything went really crazy when the orders went out to no longer kiss the icons. I walked up to the icons in the narthex and in my head said do I actually believe this? I decided then and there I do, and kissed the icons. I never stopped. As a father I need show my kids what it means to be a man. God is in control and if I die because I went to Church kissed some icons and took communion so be it. There is probably no better defense before the fearful dread judgement seat of Christ. I went to Church and took communion and died of COVID, vs I did not go to Church, instead went to Walmart got COVID and died. Greatest missed opportunity of my life by the Clowns with Crowns. They buried the talent.

          • Michael Bauman says

            Seraphim, some background in my case: I have known and loved my bishop since he was a parish priest. Plus I have the experience of the blessings that came to me when I decided to be obedient to him when I vehemently disagreed with him and I could have gone elsewhere. I was not silent during that time and I am not silent in this either.

            Above all, I do not want to contribute to the growing COVID schism in which all of us lose.

            • I understand that and I respect it. My point is we, including many of our hierarchs are living by lies. We’ve thrown aside 2000 years of church practice, and for what? A virus with an over 99 percent survival rate? I revere our hierarchs, but our obedience can never be absolute. There has to be balance. Anyway, that’s all I have to say about that.

              • Jacob Lee says


                Prime example of living by lies, I remember being at a lecture where an Antiochian bishop laid into parents about playing youth sports on Sunday. Come 2020 they shut their Churches down. Funny thing in Texas youth sports at least travel baseball kept playing. To this day in a state where you can be completely open and no rules upon the Church. The Antiochian Bishops have put a rule where A to L worships on one Sunday M to Z on another Sunday, masks and all other kinds of crazy.

                My Greek parish is mostly normal. Still no books, no bulletin, no kissing priest hand, and no bread after communion. You can come any sunday, no mask required, you can kiss icons sit in a pew next to friends.

                Travel Baseball is 99% normal only thing that has changed is they tip a hat for good game instead of hi fives or hand shakes (unless you make it to the championship where they do still do good game). As far a religion goes youth sports is the only one I have seen that has come out the same.

                It is clear to me who truly believes in this world. The sad thing is it is not the Church or its leaders for the most part. The failure by the Church is epic with the kids. What hope they had of retention has been flushed. Its time we stop trying to preserve our faith and work on growing our faith. To do so though will require new leadership.

                • Jacob,
                  At least your parish is mostly normal. I’m in the AOC and the parish I was going to for years went for the whole thing: only a handful of people a year ago, mandatory masks for the last few months, no kissing icons, priest’s hand, etc etc etc.

                  In regard to Rdr. Nicholas’s comments below, I understand where he’s coming from. I do. I’m not flippant, thought it may come off like that in this forum. I have been tortured over this for months, going back and forth about what the right path is and I am still suffering with this. I know I am worldly and there are many people in the Church much godlier than I who just mask up and go to services. Maybe that’s what I should do. But at this time, my conscience will not let me do that.

                  As far as what St. Ignatius said, absolutely. I love St. Ignatius and all his letters. But let me make this point. I didn’t stir this up. The Church has been consistent in Her practice for 2000 years. Now, because of a virus with an over 99% survival rate, we have hit pause on almost everything, not for a week or a month, but for over a year. The real covid science is there. How many of our clergy are even listening? Are they making any effort to research, to look at alternative views? Or are they simply taking at face value everything coming out of the 6 oclock news on their TV? We have changed our practice over the last year. I didn’t make that happen. I didn’t make that call, and I was in no way consulted on it. Let me make a few final points.

                  1. I don’t believe all our bishops are wrong on this. It’s well known there are bishops in various parts of the world who have preached against these changes and resisted them with all they have. So Christ has not left us without shepherds. Not to mention there are many priests, who also have a degree of sacramental authority, who have resisted these changes, some publicly, some privately.

                  2. I recognize the need for, and the authority of, bishops. However, bishops, in and of themselves, do NOT constitute the entirety of the Church. The Faithful are just as vital. Without sheep, you don’t need a shepherd. The “priesthood of believers” is a real thing. It’s just not the only thing.

                  3. Bishops, authoritative and holy as they may be, are NOT infallible. We are not Roman Catholic. Bishops can be wrong, and are wrong at times. We all are. To act as if we can give bishops complete, perpetual, unquestioning obedience is a dangerous concept. What if you were in 1920s Russia and your bishop was Metropolitan Sergius. Would you give him your whole obedience, even though he was doing something horrible in siding with the Communist government? Maybe at that time he really believed he was doing the right thing by the Russian church and trying to keep them safe. Did it make it right?

                  The measure of the Truth is what has been believed by the entirety of the Church across all times and places, not individual bishops only in the present. And I have a hard time believing that the Saints and bishops and normal faithful of centuries past would smile on how we’ve handled things. But this is just the perspective of one sinner right here. Maybe I’m wrong. Take it for what it’s worth. Probably not much.

                  • For what it is worth, Seraphim,
                    I think it is worth a very great deal.

                  • Rd. Nicolas says

                    This short form, written medium is an emaciated means of communication. I pray my brotherly concern comes through. I mean no condemnation, both because I feel none and because who am I to judge? I seek to understand, to be understood, and to share information.

                    Like in St. Ignatius’s day, during the Nikonian reforms, and numerous other times, there are no bishops leading the people who think and feel their bishop is abandoning tradition. That is the fundamental difference. We don’t believe individual bishops are infallible, but all the bishops together have to be aknowledged as the will of the Holy Spirit or our Ecemical Councils would be nothing more than the opinions of mortal men. There have been a handful of times during the pandemic response when online media has misrepresented one or another bishop (such as the bishop of Montenegro, a bishop in Greece, and the Patriarch of Georgia) as standing in opposition to what the other bishops are doing, but in every case I’m aware of the bishop has done no such thing. The bishop of Montenegro was in perfect alignment with his Serbian Synod. The bishop in Greece had not yet received the pandemic directions from their synod and oppologized for inadvertently acting contrary to them. The Patriarch of Georgia instructed the faithful to abide by the civilian government’s limits of people in church buildings and attend Pascha safely distanced in the beautiful, expansive courtyards most Georgian Churches have. I have not heard of more recent claims of desenting bishops, particularly on the issue of vaccines.

                    The idea that priest have sacramental authority apart from the will of bishops is a Catholic one, entirely foreign to Orthodoxy. I don’t know how it has crept into the thoughts of many pious, modern Orthodox Christians, but as our beloved St. Ignatius says clearly (and as our practice of requiring a signed antimins demonstrates) it is impossible to have a Liturgy without the blessing of a bishop.

                    I am not sure what it is the current bishops are doing that you think is unprecedented, Seraphim. I haven’t seen anything unprecedented in what my parish has been instructed to do.

                    • First, I will say I agree this isn’t a great forum for discussing these huge topics. So I’m with you there. However it is all some of us have.

                      Second, I NEVER said priests have their authority APART from the bishop. But they do have authority, and it means something. I can’t speak for y’all but I was at my church for 7 years and saw my bishop once.

                      The bishop is essential yes. But WE are the boots on the ground. I believe Fr Pat has brought up on here before that the episcopacy St. Ignatius knew was MUCH closer to the individual congregation than what we have today. When St. John was in Shanghai he was constantly visiting his flock in the hospital, etc. When was the last time any of you got a visit from your bishop in your moments of loss or desperation?

                      And now with this virus and church restrictions, what is the recourse for someone like me? Write an email to the episcopal office and maybe the bishop himself might read it? And if so, what impact will it have when I can’t look him in the eye and speak person to person?

                      I feel like all I can say is this is a hard topic. This is coming down to the very structure of the church. I feel like we need balance. I am not prepared to say we don’t need bishops or their authority means nothing. But I am also not prepared to say the bishop constitutes the entirety of the Church on his own.

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    Rdr Nicholas, as much as I appreciate the episcopate, I find myself agreeing with Seraphim on every point.

                    If I may add another historical point: after the Council of Ferrara-Florence, the majority of the bishops sided with the Unia. Only St Mark Eugenicus, the Bishop of Ephesus stood against it.

                    • Rd. Nicolas says

                      I appreciate your point George, but it simply isn’t true. The majority of Constantinople’s bishops stood with the Unia, but the bishops of the other autocephalous Churches stood with the Orthodox Faith, just as St. Mark of Ephesus did.

                  • Seraphim, to your post at 2:58 AM today….all I can say is…..a thousand times AMEN!! Thank you brother! Perfectly stated!

                  • <Seraphim, the 99% survival rate is probably accurate when applied to the population as a whole but it is different for each age group. 65 and older the death rate is more like 20%. If we look at people 85 and older the death rate is more like 32%.
                    We have older members in our Church. According to statistics people age 65 have on average 18 more years of life on earth.
                    So I have some concerns and please consider that I am talking in very general terms here, I am aware there are many nuances or different situations in nearly any subject talked about , this one included.
                    If a disease is making it's way through the population and a fair amount of those infected are asymptomatic then I may have it and not be aware of it. I'm not talking about a general flu, virus or disease that commonly happens and kills a few people, there are limits to what can be done. I'm talking about something that at this point has led to the death of over half a million Americans which 80% have been 65 and older, and without modern medicine would be much higher.
                    I guess a big issue I have is this.
                    Should we care about our older parishioners?
                    If wearing a mask and practicing a little social distancing for a while protects our most vulnerable brothers and sisters then is it worth it?
                    Nobody is being asked or told by the Bishops to give up the faith.
                    I think the Bishops are having a hard time with this and while they are responsible to lead us through this , they do need our support and prayers. This is not an easy situation.
                    Perhaps God is testing us.
                    While I see things differently than some on this media, we are all trying to get through it as best we can.
                    And later tonight we can all proclaim
                    CHRIST IS RISEN!!!

                    • Brendan says

                      What is chiefly responsible for the deaths in all age cohorts is [a lack of] Vitamin D3 and zinc [deficiency]. Sort that and you will have no pandemic whatsoever.

                      Then when those who get sick start to show symptoms, give them hydroxychloroquine or Ivermectin and you will need no ‘vaccine’ whatsoever.

              • Rd. Nicolas says

                It simply isn’t possible that the Holy Spirit would abandon us by letting all the bishops be wrong on this simultaneously. If there isn’t a bishop that shares our views, how can we claim those views are really within the traditions of the Church? We are not the arbiters of that tradition. That is the role the Holy Spirit plays through our bishops. It was to them that Christ has given the authority to bind and to loose both on Earth and in Heaven. Christ promised that the Gates of Hell will not prevail against His Church and St. Paul warned us that many wolves in sheep’s clothing will seek to lead the faithful out of the Church by fomenting controversies and maligning our bishops. As St. Ignatius warned us in the 2nd century when many bishopless gurus were fomenting controversies of supposed blasphemies much like we see today, wherever the bishop is, there is the Church. Obedience is not a virtue when we agree with those God has put in authority over us. It is a virtue when we disagree, but humbly trust God to protect us in our obedience.

                • Nonsense. Have you never read the life of St. Athanasios?

                  • Ignore my comment above. Though bishops even in council can err, I thought the Reader was talking about the Covid closures rather than vaccine suitability. The point is still valid but unnecessarily combative in that context.

                  • Misha,
                    I’ve read it before but it’s been awhile. Can you clue me in here?

                  • Rd. Nicolas says

                    St. Athanasius the Great was a bishop, and despite the common monicre he was never alone. During a couple of his exiles he was taken in by the Orthodox Christians in Gaul, whose bishops continued to hold to the Orthodox faith but were beyond the reach of the politically connected Arians.

                    Misha, I am not sure why you say it is nonsense for me to assert, “It simply isn’t possible that the Holy Spirit would abandon us by letting all the bishops be wrong on this simultaneously.” That is the root of all Orthodox Dogmatic Theology. Without it, we cannot trust the Ecumenical Councils were really the will of the Holy Spirit.

                    • Rd. Nicolas, you are right in your view of the Bishoprick.
                      The Bishops have the God given authority to lead the Church.
                      Not only the authority but also the responsibility , in other words they have to give an account to God for the way they lead us. Its an awesome responsibility!
                      Another thought is that we think we know more that we actually do sometimes.
                      Really , most of us don’t have actual knowledge of these viruses and diseases. We read different scientific opinions and tend to gravitate to the one we like but we really don’t know for sure.
                      We like what one says but not the other so we believe one over the other and we really don’t know much of anything.
                      Sure there can be an errant bishop here and there but the consensus or concilliarity of the Bishops is guided by the Holy Spirit.
                      May God grant us the ability and desire to follow his Bishops.

                • If the body is the Temple of the Spirit,
                  our God-given immune system is the Temple Guard;
                  which regulates incomers, rejecting and expelling enemies
                  that would desecrate and destroy the Temple.

                  To keep the Guard fit for purpose, all we need to do is feed it
                  and supply it with sufficient tools to do its job:
                  calories for food; Vitamins, Zinc, Magnesium, etc… for tools.

                  If the Temple comes under sustained attack from a determined foe, the Guard will need more rations and more ammunition.

                  What it will not need is a crack detachment of the enemy,
                  secretly inserted into the heart of the Temple,
                  to assail it from behind, at the very same time
                  as it is engaged in repelling continuous external assaults.

                  • Rd. Nicolas says

                    This is new Gospel you are preaching, Brendan. By your reasoning no Saint would have ever caught an illness.

                    Lord have mercy on us!

                    • Not necessarily; what Brendan is saying is that God has given us an immune system and we need to reinforce it with good nutrition, vitamins, and supplements.

                    • It is not a Gospel. It is a metaphor,
                      a metaphor in which no absolute statement is given
                      or implied. So why do you infer an absolute
                      (no saint would have ever…) from it?

                      Anyway, do you not trust your God-given immune system?

                    • Rd. Nicolas says

                      I can apparently not reply directly to comments as deeply nested as Basil and Brendan’s above. Perhaps I am taking his metaphor to far, but from “If the Temple comes under sustained attack from a determined foe, the Guard will need more rations and more ammunition,” I thought Brendan meant that that was the only reinforcements your immune system would ever need and with them there is no attack it could not repel. I apologize if I jumped to that conclusion.

                      If we are willing to take this as a metaphor and carrier it a bit farther, having served in the Navy as an Information Warfare Officer I can tell you nothing beefs up security as well as red team penetration testing 😉

                    • My military experience taught me that nothing beefs up security as well as the enemy on my perimeter and the thought that if I get it wrong I could end up very dead very quickly.

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    As a health professional, I can say that Brendan is quite correct. All things being equal, I can say that science confirms the resiliency of the body’s immune system.

                  • Michael Bauman says

                    We also need to entreat our Lord to raise up Unmercenary Healers empowered by the mercy of God. Nearly everything in modern medicine is about money. Patients be damned. Actual healthcare be damned.
                    Here locally we have Ascension Heath monopolizing nearly all medical care since the Catholics sold to them several years ago. Plus if I do not explicitly state each and everything I wish to consult my doc about when requesting an appointment, I am strongly discouraged from mentioning it during the appointment as they have not allotted time for it and will not get paid. Essentially, the patient is asked to diagnose themselves and the doc mechanistically and without humanity applies the scripted remedy. Then the money comes.

                    The only medical people I have encountered who buck this trend are the surgeons and the physical therapy folk. They have largely retained their humanity.

                    The absolute worst are the mental health professionals (with some notable exceptions). The level of anti-human treatment especially in mental health hospitals is astounding. They make Nurse Ratched look good. (See One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest). It is spiritually devastating. Most of the organizations claiming to support victims just feed folks back to the same system.

                    Unfortunately many of our priests just follow along, abdicating their duty to care for the soul.

                • It simply isn’t possible that the Holy Spirit would abandon us by letting all the bishops be wrong on this simultaneously.

                  1) No one here is claiming we have been abandoned by the Holy Spirit.

                  2) Not quite all the bishops are “wrong” on this.

                  We are not the arbiters of that tradition.

                  Respectfully, neither by themselves are the bishops.

                  Again…not our bishops alone. “They” by themselves are not the Church. We all are.

                  It was to them that Christ has given the authority to bind and to loose both on Earth and in Heaven.

                  Yes, but does this apply to Arian bishops, Uniate bishops, and countless other bishops (who often constituted the clear and overwhelming majority in their day)? Should they have been obeyed unquestioningly in accordance with the criteria you have presented?

                  St. Paul warned us that many wolves in sheep’s clothing will seek to lead the faithful out of the Church by fomenting controversies and maligning our bishops.

                  Anyone here planning to leave the Church? I think not!

                  Saint Paul also warned us of false shepherds

                  Obedience is not a virtue when we agree with those God has put in authority over us. It is a virtue when we disagree, but humbly trust God to protect us in our obedience.

                  I would venture to say that the vast majority of those who comment here (with the exception of a very few whose consciences will not allow them to do so and who nevertheless have no plans to leave the Church) are, in fact, obeying their bishops. And of those (like me) who do continue to go to church in spite of them, our consciences are deeply troubled as well, forced as we are to live with lies, some of which (like the lie represented by spoon disinfection) are more serious (in my view) and utterly scandalous than others. Who, I ask you, “fomented this controversy?” Was it the faithful?

                  I will not judge the conscience of others. These few have, quite rightly and with far greater courage and endurance than I, chosen not to compromise with lies or live in them. Your view, however, would have had them follow the Arian bishops, the Uniate Bishops, and the list goes on… simply because…well… they are bishops(?).

                  I am sorry, Reader Nicolas, but the vast and overwhelming “majority” of bishops have often been dead wrong – even when they met in synod. And no amount of ‘obedience’ on our part will make it otherwise. When the fruit of all this madness is finally seen for what it is, it will be evident to all the faithful, including our bishops, that those who refuse to abide lies were doing their best to remain faithful and were not ‘disobedient’ as you suggest.

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    Very well said, Brian.

                    Looking at the catastrophe that is the Ukraine, I wonder how many of them would have fallen their seven bishops into the Unia had they been a little less “obedient” to them and more “obedient” to the Gospel?

                    Enough with this false humility. That together with pietism = false obedience.

                • Rd. Nicolas, I think your perspective is correct.
                  This is for the Bishops who have the authority and responsibility to collectively decide how to handle this being guided by the Holy Spirit.
                  I’m reminded of the first council in acts chapter 15. There were people who honestly believed you had to be circumcised to be a Christian. Paul and Barnabus who were apostles didn’t decide on their own but went to Jerusalem to the other apostles and elders and they with the direction of the Holy Spirit gave an answer for the Church as a whole.
                  We need to follow the Bishops in this and pray for God to end this situation.

                • “It simply isn’t possible that the Holy Spirit would abandon us by letting all the bishops be wrong on this simultaneously.”

                  Archbishop Teodosie (Petrescu), Archbishop of Tomis, Romanian Orthodox.


                  Petrescu has repeatedly defied COVID-19 government-imposed restrictions on religious events and has said about the vaccine: “I don’t dare encourage anyone to get the vaccine… This is the only vaccine that has not been tested on animals and is being tested directly on humans; accidents have already happened.”

                  Ambrose, former metropolitan of Kalavryta and Aigialeia (forced to resign after being convicted by the government for “hate speech”, last year, against sodomy):


                  “To be terrified of the Society, so later, hurrying to take the VACCINE, which will be accompanied to and from the chip with the number 666, ie.the number of the Antichrist!”

                  And for scoffers who laugh about the microchip implant linked to the vaccine(s) and vaccine passports.



                  Meanwhile, on the other end of the spectrum, if you listen to this bishop:


                  How are you not going to end up taking the Mark of the Beast? Whether it be Elon Musk’s neural link, or other transhumanic tech?


                  Today, your kid needs braces to feel good about her smile. Tomorrow, she’ll need a Neuralink chip to keep up in school. Given the laws of supply-and-demand, the price of fresh fetal tissue could be the crypto bubble of tomorrow. Indeed, that trend appears to be well underway.

                  Again, the question for regular people isn’t how to stop this technocratic revolution from taking place. Barring some circuit-frying electromagnetic pulse, that ship’s already sailed. The question is how to stay human in this emerging world.

                  At what point are we just being stubborn? On the other hand, at what point have we sold your soul?

                  • Metropolitan Pavlos of Servia and Kozani:
                    “God said that we should listen to the scientific community”.

                    Yes, but did he say which scientists are in that community?
                    And which are not? Is Fauci in and John Ioannides not?

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Good question.

                      One day, Ioannides, Oz and other skeptics (which is what science really is) will be heralded as heroes.

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    Regardless of who is ultimately right or wrong on this subject, Arb Petrescu has hit the nail firmly on the head: NONE of these vaccines have been passed by the FDA. They are all in clinical trials.

                    To my knowledge (as a pharmacist) this is the first time that a drug has been released to the public without widespread testing. In fact, the general population is the test case.

                    • Gail Sheppard says

                      Saunca: “All current vaccines for which the FDA has issued EUAs have already completed phase 1, 2, and 3 clinical trials, with the number of patients in the phase 3 trials numbering in the many tens of thousands total.”

                      Pfizer was the first out of the gate so let’s take a look at them.

                      When a drug, procedure, or treatment appears safe and effective based on preclinical studies, it can be considered for trials in humans. Clinical studies of experimental drugs, procedures, or treatments in humans have been classified into four phases (Phase I, Phase II, Phase III, and Phase IV) [not 3] based on the terminology used when pharmaceutical companies interact with the U.S. FDA. Greater numbers of patients are assigned to treatment in each successive phase.

                      Phase 0
                      Phase 0 represents pre-clinical testing in animals to obtain pharmacokinetic information. [The animal trials were skipped.]

                      Phase I
                      Phase I trials investigate the effects of various dose levels on humans. The studies are usually done in a small number of volunteers. Pfizer recruited approximately 38,000 participants, half of whom were given a placebo. The decision to expand the trials to the general population was made based on the outcomes of only 170 participants where they compared 8 in the vaccinated group who did not get COVID to 162 in the placebo group who did get COVID. Neither a safe dosage range nor common side effects were identified or documented in Phase I of this trial.

                      Phase II
                      A Phase II trial typically investigates preliminary evidence of efficacy and continues to monitor safety. A Phase II trial may be the first time that the agent is administered to patients with the disease of interest to answer questions such as: What is the correct dosage for efficacy and safety in patients of this type? What is the probability a patient treated with the compound will benefit from the therapy or experience an adverse effect? Most trials in the middle stage of therapy development investigate safety and efficacy (SE). The experimental drug or treatment is administered to as many as several hundred patients in Phase II trials. [Again, Phase II outcomes were based on 170 of the 38,000 who participated.]

                      At the end of Phase II, a decision will be made as to whether or not the drug is promising and development should continue. In the U.S. there will be an ‘End of Phase II’ meeting between the pharmaceutical company and the FDA to discuss safety and plans for Phase III studies. Ineffective or unsafe compounds should not proceed into Phase III trials. [There were no discussions regarding safety because the trials were too short and too small.]

                      Phase III
                      A Phase III trial is a rigorous clinical trial with randomization, one or more control groups, and definitive clinical endpoints. [There were no definitive clinical endpoints.] Phase III trials are often multi-center, accumulating the experience of thousands of patients. Phase III trials address questions of comparative treatment efficacy (CTE). A CTE trial involves a placebo and/or active control group so that precise and valid estimates of differences in clinical outcomes attributable to the investigational therapy can be assessed.

                      If things go well during Phase III, the company with the license for the compound will submit an application for approval to market the drug. U.S. FDA approval hinges on ‘adequate and well-controlled pivotal Phase III studies that are convincing of safety and efficacy. [Until this happens, the “study” is NOT over.]

                      They are not studying the “tens of thousands” people who have received the vaccine. They are tracking people with poor outcomes. None of this is being performed in a controlled environment.

                      Phase IV
                      A phase IV trial or expanded safety trial occurs after the regulatory approval of the new therapy. [Regulatory approval has not been obtained.] As the usage of the new drug becomes widespread, there is an opportunity to learn about rare side effects and interactions with other therapies. An expanded safety (ES) study can provide important information that was not apparent during drug development. [The studies were discontinued after 150 days when those in the placebo group were given the vaccine.] For example, a few thousand patients might be involved in all of the SE and CTE trials for a particular therapy. An ES study, however, could involve >10,000 patients. Such large sample sizes can detect more subtle safety problems for the therapy if such problems exist. Some Phase IV studies will have a marketing objective for the company as well as collect safety data.

                      The terminology of phase I, II, III, and IV trials do not work well for non-pharmacologic treatments and does not account for translational trials

                      Most trials in the early stage of therapy development either investigate treatment mechanism (TM) or incorporate dose-finding (DF) strategies.

                      Some studies performed prior to large-scale clinical trials are characterized as translational studies. Translational studies have as their primary outcome a biological measurement or target that has been derived from an accepted model of the disease process. The results of the translational study may provide evidence of a mechanism of action for a compound. Target validation can be an objective of such a study. Large effects on the target are sought. For example, a large change in the level of a protein, or the activity of an enzyme might support the therapeutic activity of a compound. There is an understanding that translational work may cycle from a preclinical lab to a clinical setting and back again. Although the translational studies have a written protocol, the treatment may be modified during the study. The protocol should clearly define what would be considered ‘lack of effect’ and the next experimental step for any possible outcome of the trial. [None of this was considered for EUA.]

                    • I see a few inaccurate details, perhaps I might clarify.

                      It is not accurate to say the Phase I/II/III trials are complete. Elements of the studies have been completed and some initial data analysis has been completed. That work provided the rationale for the EUA. But safety and efficacy review is most certainly still ongoing.

                      Pfizer did not skip animal trials. They did get approval to do the animal trials parallel with the Phase I human trials:

                      The roughly 38,000 cohort was the Phase II/III study, not the Phase I/II. Endpoint criteria were defined, and safety discussions/review took place prior to EUA. A useful reference for a lot of these items is the VRBPAC briefing document from the December meeting:

            • Michael,
              I’m really glad that St Mark of Ephesus didn’t say “Well, I know the right thing to do, but gosh, I don’t want to contribute to a growing schism in which all of us lose. “

              • Michael Bauman says

                Alan, I see what you are saying and why. There is a COVID schism going on. Still, that is deeply sad. I doubt that any person can stop it at this point. I still hope there is at least one US Bishop who, like St. Mark stood for the Truth. Many would follow him, including me. Even St. Mark fought against the schism of his time.

                Until he couldn’t.

                There are days in which I am living in an existential recreation of Hamlet in which everything good and beautiful is being destroyed or perverted because of the lust of power behind the COVID orders. His Act 1, Scene 2 speech is indicative of our situation:

                ’tis an unweeded garden that goes to seed.
                Things rank and gross in nature possess it merely

                Hamlet’s failure to “take arms against the sea of troubles” ended in blood and bodies littering the stage at the end, including his own.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Yesterday, La Galina and I watched the funeral for Prince Philip on YouTube. It was stately, decorous and serious. Up until the time when the mourners walked into the chapel and donned their masks. All seriousness flew out the window then. The only only thing that made it tolerable was when the cameras only showed the bishops and chanters.

          • “Yesterday, La Galina and I watched the funeral for Prince Philip on YouTube.”

            In the event that I am reincarnated, I would like to return as a deadly virus, to contribute something to solving overpopulation.-Prince Philip

            The Hamburg Syndrome (1979), German pandemic movie:


            • Gail Sheppard says

              Not at all surprised. This guy was no “prince.”

            • Michael Bauman says

              Should I be surprised that these people who want to reduce the “surplus population” do not start with themselves but look to non-white and poor? Like Margaret Sanger

              • Good comment.
                Even today in America for every one white baby murdered there are 6 black and brown babies murdered.

                • Michael Bauman says

                  Gary, Yet so many black folk support the folks who are murdering them and otherwise savaging them by gratuitously destroying any real community they attempt to establish.

              • George Michalopulos says

                One of the delicious ironies of this present iconoclasm (which is geared to destroying 95% of Western civilization) is that every now and then a leftist prog/lib like Margaret Sanger gets thrown under the bus.

                Now, if they could get that statue of Lenin in Seattle firebombed, I’d be even happier.

                Couldn’t happen to a nicer person.

          • I follow St. Vlads on Instagram and thats exactly how I feel every time I see something posted by them. They all have masks on during the liturgy and in class…these are the people that are going to be shepherding us in the future. Lord Have Mercy.

        • Amen Dan! Thank you!

  28. Trust the science, listen to the experts… That is what we constantly hear. However, scientific atrosities are unleashed upon populations throughout the world on a daily basis, and have been for some time now.
    Genetically modified food, genetically modified mosquitos and other insects, genetically modified animals, geo engineering of the skies through weather modification programs – weather warfare, eugenics programs, gender manipulation and confusion…. Is this the science, and are these the experts behind this madness we are to trust?
    The enemy of our salvation has long waged war against God, man and all that is natural.
    All this in an age of nano-technology and artificial intelligence, and individuals such as Bill Gates who openly talk about depopulation through “better health care” why anyone would allow any so called vaccine to be injected into their body is just plain ignorant.
    There is no pandemic, it is just a Trojan horse being used for the resetting of the global order to further advance the kingdom of anti-Christ.
    Lord have mercy…

    • Mother of six, is a good one to start with. I’ve had to refind it to send( I’m not very organized and normally don’t keep records of things I read ). Another good one is
      I will look some more for the links to bandaids, make-up and coloring for clothing.
      I think the idea behind it is to test their products to make sure it won’t irritate someone’s skin.
      Oh, one of the links above has a link to where apparently anyone can buy the cloned baby cells for 495 dollars.
      My point in the previous post was to highlight the problem that we as Orthodox Christians have.
      It sure gets difficult.

    • Which is why, in their wisdom, neither America nor any other venerable republic has ever been designed to be run by a panel of “experts.”

      Leftists routinely extol the virtues of “experts” – as if we should listen to them above our elected officials, or as if our elected officials should just naturally (of course) defer to the judgment of “experts.”

      But they shouldn’t. Our elected officials can consult experts (if they wish), but the responsibility to govern the country lies with the elected officials, not with the panel of “experts.” Jimmy Carter (yes, even he) famously said that any leader or president can always find two “experts” on any one topic who completely disagree with each other.

      It’s telling that so many Leftists today admittedly would prefer be governed by an unelected panel of “experts” (of their choosing, of course!) than by elected officials. After all, that’s totalitarianism — being governed by a handful of people who allegedly know more about everything than you do, and they see it as their job to tell you how to live properly. (“The world would be great, if only you all listened to me!”)

      Fauci is an “expert,” yet there are many scientists who are more experienced and knowledgeable than he who disagree with him about many things. But we never hear about or from them!

      If all we trusted was allegedly rational-based science, we wouldn’t be Christian. After all, there’s obviously nothing rational or scientifically explicable about the very basis of our faith: Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection.

      5% of it is the “expert” they choose. 95% of it is controlling and dominating all of the platforms so that all other voices are silenced out. Leftists, despite any lip service they give to the contrary, have no interest in thoughtful discussions about anything. All they want is power and control.

      • Which is why, in their wisdom, neither America nor any other venerable republic has ever been designed to be run by a panel of “experts.”

        The town of Springfield tried it once, and one of the experts on their ruling panel was characteristically proud (as most elitist experts seem to be) of their accomplishments.

    • “Trust the science, listen to the experts…”

      but choose your experts (and your science) carefully.

  29. Michael D. polovino says

    Darwin is coming!

  30. My brother’s wife died from covid complications. This is a real disease. Probably less than 2 percent of the people who get it actually die from it. I say ” covid complications” because very few people actually die from covid itself.
    In this regard it is similar to AIDS. Very few people die from AIDS but it weakens the body so that death comes from something else but AIDS was the beginning of a cascade of events that caused death. And age makes a difference. The young rarely die from covid related issues. Age 65 and above the death rate is 18 to 20 percent, age above 85 and the death rate is 32 percent.
    Of course we all eventually die but are we supposed to rush our death prematurely?
    Look at life insurance statistics. The average person who lives to age 65 will live 18 more years. Aren’t we supposed to take reasonable care of ourselves?
    I might add that doing what we practically can to take care of ourselves is not lack of faith. When you get in your car to go somewhere, do
    you put your seat belt on and look both ways to see if there
    is oncoming traffic? If you do does that mean your faith in God is weak? Of course not! We do what is practical and God supplies the rest.
    Look at the issue of leprosy in the scriptures. Someone in doubt would go to the priest. The priest tested the person. During the time period the person would wear a covering over their lips, shout unclean to warn people and live outside the camp. Sure sounds like what we call masking, social distancing and quarantining. And I’m guessing the afflicted didn’t attend any religious services while being tested.
    I personally know people who have been sick with covid symptoms and refused to get tested because they believed covid to be fake , thereby risking others.
    If everyone who had symptoms would get tested we wouldn’t be in this predicament. But because symptomatic people refuse to get tested then it places a burden on society at large.
    I do realize there are differences between the leprosy and covid scenarios but there are similarities.
    The scripture I am referring to is LEVITICUS chapter 13. Specifically verses 45 and 46 but really the whole chapter.
    And I think we should take care of our weaker brothers and sisters.
    If I get a disease that doesn’t hurt me but am deliberately careless and give it to someone who is weaker and it causes them to die prematurely, am I guilty ?
    I am not making light of the situation of the hardship this whole ordeal has put on God’s people. We can worship God while wearing a mask. It’s not ideal but if it’s temporary and protects our weaker brothers and sisters then is it worth it?
    It sure makes it hard to meet visitors at Church services and it is hard on the children I think.
    I know I am rambling and that there is much more to this.
    A big problem too is we get our information from a government and media that we absolutely can’t trust.
    Maybe God is testing our faith.
    Let’s not devour each other.
    God will get us through it!

    • Gail Sheppard says

      RE: “Aren’t we supposed to protect ourselves?”

      Absolutely, but that means doing the research so you can protect yourself.

    • “It’s not ideal but if it’s temporary and protects
      our weaker brothers and sisters then is it worth it?”

      Masks protect nobody.

      • Brendan has it right. My beloved brothers and sisters, we are constantly surrounded by a certain narrative. We have been for over a year. I’m NOT saying to automatically dismiss it. But we’ve had a year for scientists to research this stuff and by now there are plenty of holes in the narrative. But the question is always “Are you willing to listen?” If not, there’s nothing we can do. Here is yet another article showing that masks DO NOT WORK.

        Why am I so passionate about this? Two reasons:
        1. It is not the job of my priest or bishop to give me health advice. If we’re talking about a spirit bearing elder to whom I go for EVERYTHING, that’s something else. But I should be able to make my own risk assessment and trust that God will protect me in His house. My priest is there to manage my spiritual health, and when they place all sorts of caviates on if/when/how we can come to church that have nothing to do with penance, they’ve stepped out of their bounds. Not to mention, when you only let 5 people into the Paschal service for fear/concern over a virus, there’s NOTHING about that that exclaims “Christ is Risen!” Let me die! It is to those in the tombs that He is bestowing life.

        2. All this has been built on LIES. Those in power do NOT care about our health or lives. They closed churches, forbade singing and in some places Communion. All the while groceries, liquor stores and weed dispensaries were open. Fauci has had the stab and still wears a mask. He refuses to give any timeline for return to normalcy. These people are mad with power. Masks and lockdowns do not work. The vaccine does not prevent transmission and on the contrary has caused hundreds of adverse reactions and deaths. All the while there were treatments available that could have saved thousands, yet they were supressed. All the while people who think like me have been painted anti-science and murderers who don’t care about you or your loved ones. Lies on top of lies! I will NOT stay silent anymore. I echo Solzhenitsyn and refuse to live by lies. The bolsheviks held onto power for 70 years cause they, and others around the world lied about the true situation. Screw that. The reason we don’t have our freedom back yet is we are living by lies. Only when we embrace the Truth will we be free.

    • Gary, all of those things are precautions sick people can and should take. People that are sick and stay home do not put others at risk by not getting tested. They should just stay home and recover. These are the same things people should’ve done before this covid madness began. Healthy people should not be treated like they have leprosy. Healthy people were not instructed to “cover their mouths” lest they pick up leprosy. The idea of asymptomatic spread was bullocks from the beginning. So was the idea that masks prevent the spread of viral illness.

      The majority of commenters on this blog do not deny the existence of this disease. They take umbrage with the reaction of the authorities. Masking and hiding does nothing to actually prevent people from getting sick! I myself have several older and unhealthy relatives who have had it. One is currently in the hospital gravely ill. Curiously, all of them picked it up while in the hospital. Anyway, how much better off would they have been if a year ago the public health authorities told people to exercise, lose weight, take supplements, etc. Is it truly protecting anyone by lying to them about what really prevents disease?

      • I have a question. Let’s say someone who has a disease comes to liturgy and spews out germs or a virus, can I be hurt by it even though I am there in good faith?
        If someone comes to liturgy and spews out bullets, can I be hurt even though I am there in good faith?

        • That’s the reason why banning healthy people from church is ridiculous. The sick can stay at home, but there’s no need to prevent those with no symptoms from coming. It’s the same issue with the lockdowns as a whole – healthy people were cooped up in their houses going crazy, when they could have been living their lives normally with the sick and at-risk at home. This is how things have always been done.

          • Saunca,

            Even if one accepts that asymptomatic spread is possible, the larger question is “Where does it all end?” Covid and all its variants will likely be with us for some time to come, even (some think) permanently like the flu.

            Are we supposed to live our lives in constant fear of a virus -one that, even in your story, killed no one? In fact, I find your story rather instructive in the sense that every possible precaution was observed, yet they all got sick except, for one. Your story is illustrative, not of the benefits of masks and lockdowns, but of the (I believe) more accurate assessment of the matter that we were all told in the beginning, though few seem to remember.

            And what were we told in the beginning? “We cannot stop this virus. It will have to run its course. All we can do is flatten the curve so as not to overwhelm our healthcare system.” Well, the curve is not only flattened, but well into steep decline (though with occasional small spikes), and the healthcare system is far from overwhelmed.

            So again, where does it all end? Are we to be held hostage by a virus forever?
            Yes, viruses are contagious. As all viruses are and always will be.

        • Discharging a firearm is a deliberate act which has a high probability of incapacitation that requires intent to discharge.

          Whether you are carrying the virus asymptomatically or not it has a very low likely hood of transmission. If the guidlines are to be believed then any threat is negated by a mask+social distancing on top of the immune system. If we are to treat an exposure like a confirmed kill then we need to stay home because driving to church could kill someone, stop inviting friends over because the house could be trapping radon gas, and stop cooking for guests because of the risk of food borne illness.

          Am I being pedantic- no but it just shows the stochastic effects we have on others but nowhere does it belong as deliberate as discharging a firearm. I do have sympathy for those that lost loved ones and it is a real virus, but trying to stop the virus in this manner is a pyrrhic victory. Death is non-negociable for us so why did we hamstring the most important hospital- His Church? The message is clear- personal hygiene is more important than spiritual hygiene.

          And what of the icons that people died over to defend? The bloodshed and tears poured over them are now forbidden to venerate because you could possible die venerating them!!

          • Xenophon, I should have been more explicit in my question.
            If someone comes to liturgy with a communicable disease and deliberately wants to infect people ( perhaps a Muslim or atheist ) then can a member attending in good faith get sick or die?

        • Gary, you are comparing apples to fish.
          It doesn’t work.

        • Gary, I honestly don’t care. I’m going to Church. If someone there spews out germs on me and I die, so be it. If they shoot me there and I die, so be it. I’m going to Church. This isn’t exactly rocket science. It’s remedial level Orthodoxy.

  31. Michael Bauman says

    The fact is that we live in and seem to profit from a culture of death. Everything we do is permeated by death. Now the masking is even bringing death into the Church.

    No amount of worldly “change” or “progress” can make us pure.

  32. Brothers and sisters,
    I have seen a lot of good points made on this issue. I would like to make one last point and then I’m going to bow out of this discussion. Holy Week is upon us and I need to stop being a hypocrite and start praying for our clergy more than bashing them. I want you all to know I take this stuff seriously. It’s been a source of inner torture for me. I ask that all of you pray for me. Whether for the strength to stick to my convictions or the wisdom and humility to admit I’m wrong.

    Here is what’s on my heart. As an Orthodox Christian, two of the things I’m asked to buy into are: the authority of the bishop and the heavenly nature of the Liturgy. I’m asked to believe that in the Liturgy we are lifted into the heavenly realm with the Trinity and the Saints who have already defeated death in Christ, hence the icons. I’m told to lay aside all earthly cares so we can receive the King of all.

    Yet when the bishop says things like: don’t come to church, only a few can come, do not embrace one another in peace, do not kiss the icons of the glorified Saints, do not kiss the Holy Cross or the hand if blessing, wear a mask over your nose and mouth (aka cover the icon of Christ), stay away from your brothers and sisters, do not have an agape meal to share fellowship……

    Does any of that sound like we really believe in the heavenly Liturgy? Does that sound like we are laying aside earthly cares? I’m sorry but it doesn’t to me. It’s not just a matter of whether or not we believe in the authority of the bishop. It’s also a matter of what we believe about our services, the Cross, the icons, the power of the priestly blessing, and Christ’s victory over death. And all that comes from Holy Tradition, which I always thought was the ultimate authority.

    So what do I do when the bishop and the Tradition, as best as I can tell, are at odds? Right now it’s getting very hard to hold these two beliefs fully and simultaneously. Lord forgive me, a sinner. Pray for me.

    • Michael Bauman says

      Seraphim, there is “bashing” and there is speaking the truth about the malicious evil of the COVID regulations. My son gave me a Bible reference that puts it clearly the risk we run by not speaking: Ezekiel 3:16-21.

      I was masking until I actually listened to the prayers of the priest during Divine Liturgy a few weeks ago and the singing of Champion Leader: “From all forms of danger hast thou delivered me…”

      I have not been able to mask since. It is not that I won’t. I cannot.

  33. George Michalopulos says
    • How does the barber trim beards and moustaches
      when his customer have to wear masks while in his shop?

    • This is an attempt to socially shame those who are not vaccinated.

      Vaccinate yourself, you go mask free.

      Remain unvaccinated, you must wear a mask forever.

      Have we arranged our network of professionals able to “give” us saline “vaccinations” in order to sign off on the paperwork? How can we do this? Wondering about such things before school resumes in September.

      • “Vaccinate yourself, you go mask free.”

        I doubt it. Vaccination do not prevent infection.
        Nor does it prevent the spread of infection.
        So why should the vaccinated not have to “wear a mask forever”?

      • Michelle, if you do find a network of professionals able to help out, many of us would love to be included.

      • We might have to start bribing people.

        • “We might have to start bribing people.”

          I wouldn’t, not unless you plan on capitulating and taking it shortly down the road. You’re not going to be able to hide your unaltered genetics, when the drones sniff the air around you, your house, etc.

          Nanopore sequencing is a process by which strands of DNA are transported across a membrane through an electrified carbon nanopore. The physical passage of nucleotides (ie, the constituent molecules of DNA: adenine, thymine, guanine, and cytosine) through the nanopore generates a change in electrical resistance based on the nucleotide’s distinct shape, which then provides the specimen’s genetic sequence. These devices, as exemplified by Oxford Nanopore Technology’s MinION, are extremely portable—they are roughly the size of a candy bar—and are capable of being deployed in nontraditional settings. For example, nanopore sequencers have been used to generate genomic information in outbreak settings including West African Ebola and Zika’s expansion in the Americas.

  34. Michael Bauman says

    If anyone doubts the dehumanization going onin the name of mental health check out Mind Freedom

    These tools can easily be used against vaccine resistors. Indeed any one of our Fools for Christ would be considered a schizophrenic by modern standards plus we routinely talk to invisible friends and some folk see them.

    This site lists the legislation in each state for protecting those who refuse the vaccine.

    • Exactly. Don’t ever say ‘yes’ if a doctor asks if you’re feeling depressed, lest you end up getting prescribed a bunch of psychotropics and, if you politely decline, find yourself getting sectioned.

      • Michael Bauman says

        Basil, or worse. I almost ended up a white Rodney King the night my son was “evaluated” when he voluntarily sought help for a major depressive episode. I strenuously objected to his “treatment” and I ended up in a chokehold slammed against the wall and roughly escorted out with threats that they were going to lock my son up and throw away the key.

        It is quite difficult to say “I submit” when you cannot breathe because you are being choked. If I had been on the floor, I might have been significantly injured.

        Because my son sought help he was incarcerated and forcibly medicated. He now has the record and can be put back in for almost anything.

        • So sorry this happened to you and your son, Michael.

          • Michael Bauman says

            Michelle, thank you. It is tough for people to belief the level of de-humanization that goes on in the name of “mental health”. Still my so persists in seeking help. Somehow we need to become more aware and vocal about the issues. For our own sake. More than one of the 30 odd therapists he has visited with over the years has tended to define religion as a mental disorder.
            There are good people in the field but they are operating in a sewer.

        • The cops are not really our friends, are they?

          What a horrible experience. I hope you and your son both find healing from this.

        • I am sorry about you and your son’s ordeal.
          This world is crazy.
          Any organization or group of the government simply CAN’T be trusted.
          I pray that it works out for you both!

  35. Michael Bauman says
  36. George Michalopulos says
  37. Mother of Six says


    We agree with you about the kids. Our parish that we attended for ten years just posted pictures on Facebook of their Pascha service with every single child masked, alter servers and the girls that put flowers around the icon of Christ. I just, in my soul, feel it is so very wrong. This is one year later and we now know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that this does NOT affect children and they do not pass this onto others. Glory to God! But then how do any priests justify masking the children in their church now in 2021? I just have no understanding of where they are coming from and sadly, the long term effects of the children who have religiously attended, masked, what do they now believe? I’m sure it’s second nature to them…no longer temporary but just a reasonable part of church and acceptable in church, in the presence of God and the saints. This has never NEVER been a part of our Orthodox faith. We too have missed services but by God’s grace not as many as some. Our children have only worn a mask in church once and that was for a funeral that we felt was more important than our very firm feelings as parents and caretakers of our children’s faith. So many people didn’t even venerate her body, one of the most saintly women in our church, and it broke my heart. I don’t know how God will preserve the faith in our children that have been denied entry into so many churches without their noses and mouths covered, but I do believe He will nurture and intensify the flame of faith in their hearts in the midst of our struggles and inability as loving parents to provided the consistency they all need and so rightly deserve.

    • Seraphim says

      Mother of Six,
      Thank you. I appreciate your take more than most, simply because I can tell you’re struggling over this like my wife and I are. Some on here may take my strong, unbending, stance on this issue as an indication of certainty, but it’s not. I’ve gone back and forth over this stuff for a year, constantly second-guessing myself and whether I’m making the right decision for my family. We did find a parish a few hours away where they are not requiring masks. We had a lovely Pascha there, and out of all the people I only saw maybe a handful of masks in the place. And the next day at Agape Vespers I saw none.

      I will say I listened to an interview a few days before Pascha with 2 Orthodox priests and they were talking about our ritual participation in the Liturgy and what was said really made it all hit me in a more powerful way and I became more convinced than ever that masks have no place within the church building. And this applies to the other measures as well: not kissing icons or the priest’s hand, disinfecting everything, using multiple spoons, anything relating to covid.

      The church services, especially the Liturgy, are a privilege, where we are called to set aside all earthly cares, and be lifted up into the heavenly realm and commune with God and His Saints in a way we aren’t capable of in our day to day lives. Now I know things happen in church that constantly try to pull our attention away: thoughts of other things, kids crying, the feeling of having to go to the bathroom. But those aren’t excuses. We pull ourselves and our attention back to where we truly are as quickly as we can. These measures are a constant, blatant sign that our focus is on the earthly. But we justify it by saying we’re just using common sense or showing “love” for our brethren or that failing to do these things is “testing God” and disobeying our bishops.

      They say, “why aren’t you willing to go through a little discomfort for your brethren in Christ?” It’s never been an issue of discomfort. I was a Protestant convert. And I went through plenty of discomfort when I was an inquirer and a catechumen. There was so much that was new and uncomfortable to me. So much I had to unlearn and renounce. So much that I was required to accept as an Orthodox Christian that I hadn’t as a Protestant. I especially struggled with venerating icons and Mary. But in the end I bowed the knee, even when I didn’t fully understand. The reason I cannot go along with these measures is not because of discomfort. It’s because the Church taught me well. It taught me what to believe about blessings, icons, the Liturgy, etc. I am sticking to that. I’m sorry, but in this case, I didn’t change. The Church did. Or at least part of it did. I will not be a schismatic. I will not leave the Church. But I will, to the best of my ability and understanding, uphold the true Faith within the Church.

      Allllll that being said, I don’t know what the future holds for my wife and I. We are still discussing what we will do should these restrictions be lifted and the churches near us go back to normal. Should we go back, for the sake of our kids having access to more regular services? Maybe. But the problem is my trust in them has been severely damaged. If they are willing to capitulate this much over a virus with a 99% survival rate, what will they do if things get really bad? I hope and pray God gives both our families wisdom to know and do what is right.

      • Gail Sheppard says

        Perhaps the answer is to be still, pray, and remember Christ’s promise: He will not allow the gates of hell to prevail against us, His bride, His Church. He will do the work.

      • Mother of Six says


        “The reason I cannot go along with these measures is not because of discomfort. It’s because the Church taught me well. It taught me what to believe about blessings, icons, the Liturgy, etc. I am sticking to that. I’m sorry, but in this case, I didn’t change. The Church did.” YES, a million times yes.

        We are trying to talk to our children about this as much as we can and not shelter them from it because they need to know the truth and feel safe in church no matter what. I recently spoke to my spiritual father and he said to “make the sign of the cross and remember that God is bigger than all of this”. He is bigger than everything we’ve come up against over this last year. He has the strength to overcome all the sad things we are seeing all around us now, all the “scientific” solutions that may be causing many MANY more problems than they are solving and in the end, if we make the sign of the cross and pray, He will sustain us till it’s our time to be with Him. So I think Gail’s words are indeed where we are left: “He will not allow the gates of hell to prevail against us, His bride, His Church. He will do the work.”

        In the meantime we just raise our children with the best knowledge we have, make the sign of the cross over them, teach them to do the same, and God will fill the gaps we can’t.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Mother of Six, very wise words.

          If I may add something more mundane; a question specifically to all the health care experts: how exactly is cutting off the oxygen supply to the brain a good idea?

          • I’ll let the medical experts reply George but just a pro-tip for all — always hold candles well away from your nose, never directly under. The old-timers seem to have a knack for catching fainting altar boys though.

      • Mom of Toddler says

        Mother of Six, good to see your voice again. It’s been quite a year. It saddens me so much to hear there were children wearing masks at that Pascha service.

        Seraphim, we are in the same boat as you recently learning the changes will be lifted at our former parish very soon. Everything, everything you wrote resonated so strongly with me. The desire to pass on the faith with more regular services for the kids, having to consider that, but still the broken trust, etc. We might make different choices if it was just my husband and me. Also the fact that many in these jurisdictions/parishes believe that we were in the wrong the whole time for not participating in masks and “spoon wiping.” because we did not “obey the bishop.” (It’s not going to be a simple, joyous return I suppose, but it will include some baggage.) In another jurisdiction we attended once a month during this time, they were a few people there that understood where we were coming from. I feel like in certain parishes with certain priests you have to apologize for and justify wanting to be a traditional Orthodox Christian, in not just this, but many facets of life. If/when we go back I am going to try my absolute hardest to maintain my silence and just take the sacraments, and be grateful for the change, but its going to be hard.

        • Gail Sheppard says

          Good to see you BOTH!

        • Mom of Toddler says

          Good to see you too!

          Just to add to above, we may not get the option to return as my almost 9 year old just stated he doesn’t want to return to our former parish since the priest is taking (has taken?) and supports the vaccine, plus masks, history of spoon wiping. While a grown up might be able to shake this off and return, he really doesn’t want to. All I can add to this comment is Luke 17:2: 2 “It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.” A lot to sort out.

          • George Michalopulos says

            Mom of Toddler, Mother of Six, my beloved wife and all other mothers out there who read this blog: Happy (belated) Mother’s Day!

            We couldn’t do it without you!

        • Seraphim says

          Mom of Toddler,
          I totally get what you mean. I’ve thought the same thing. If it was just me and my wife we would probably just keep going where we are once every 2-3 months. But having 3 little ones makes a difference. But the thought of going back to our old parish is not a good prospect. We feel so alienated from the people there.

          Anyway, keep your head up. Yes we are to obey our bishops. But Christ trumps all. And obedience is contingent on them steering the Church aright. God is raising up His crew to keep the true Faith in this ark of salvation. Let’s keep working out our salvation. This community is important guys. We all need to keep this up and remember we aren’t alone. A brotherhood of St. Elijah.

        • Mother of Six says

          Mom of Toddler:

          It’s ironic because your plan of going back to your former parish and just maintaining silence and going for the sake of communion was exactly what we did for two years PRIOR to Covid. What is interesting for us, is that we were struggling at our parish, and felt a disconnect with many fellow parishioners, long before Covid was even a thing. We prayed to God to show us what we were supposed to do but spiritually we knew we were not being nurtured there and it was a very painful and confusing time. For us, the Covid situation and all that came with it actually clarified and brought to light many of the things we assumed were differences in belief but we could not prove. We just knew we had a very different understanding of Orthodox Ethos than others at our church. It had not always been this way. We LOVED our church. We LOVED our priest. Slowly though, as people left and others came the goals and focus of those at our church started to change as well. What was even more interesting is that there were several families we’d known a long time there that were also struggling prior to Covid. For them too, Covid made clear what we had only been feeling inside and could not really prove.

          When you have had the tremendous blessing of attending a spiritually sound church and a thriving church with a good priest and many like minded families before, that is the bar you hold all churches too in your individual life. I fear some may never experience this, or if they do, it’s for a short time. I fear, no, I KNOW, some enter the faith and because they enter into a spiritually lacking parish they ultimately leave the faith because they think that is indicative of all Orthodox Parishes. Sadly, we know several families that entered our church then left to go to Catholicism. People we loved but their experience at this church was not the true experience that we cherish and strive for, that we’ve experienced at other churches.

          We feel it a great yet hard blessing that Covid really clarified what was missing for us so we could unite as families and, together, seek out churches that were not bending to the restrictions that some parishes think EVERYONE was implementing. Everyone was not masking. Everyone was not wiping spoons. Everyone was not declining to venerate icons. There are so many churches that did not bend. Did not alter. And I have yet to hear of one where there was mass sickness or death. THAT was the justification for the precautionary measures, to prevent sickness and death, but the reality is that those that altered nothing experienced no more death than normal to my knowledge. Yet this fact is being overlooked and buried by many priests that did implement measures. It’s all in the past one said essentially. But for your son, for us, for many, it is not the past. They are events that have helped us discern where our future is and is not. What happened was a fork in the road for us. We all had to make a choice, and will moving forward, about what parishes and priests we trust and want watering our children’s faith and our own. In this case the past does matter, even if restrictions are being lifted. This is now a part of the history of the Church. A time when parishioners entered churches masked, priests wiped spoons and people did not venerate icons. This DID happen and it DOES matter.

          If your 9 year old can see that, you have done a good job my friend! (at least by this mom’s humble opinion)

          • Seraphim says

            Mother of Six and Mother of Toddler,
            Bless you ladies for seeing all this and having the courage to act on it. I feel like so many people are asking about canons. But I keep thinking, is that what we base everything on? Are we Pharisees? You pointed it out: it’s also about an Orthodox ethos. Orthodoxy of the heart. This is what Fr. Seraphim Rose used to talk about. That has been a big deal for me during this time. Every time I read that book I feel like I’m seeing true Orthodoxy. And I keep thinking “what would Fr. Seraphim and St. John be saying right now?”

            Mother of Six, you are so blessed to have others there who share your feelings and can join with you. My wife and I don’t have that here. For a moment it looked like there were a couple people who shared our views but they felt it better to just stay where they were or go to the Russian church (where they still required masks) so as to not cut themselves off from the sacraments. What’s more, one or both of them started spreading rumors that we were trying to start our own mission, which was completely false. So now we’re in a crappy situation where we feel there are no clergy here we can trust, or even regular parishioners we can join with in prayer. We really like this church we’ve gone to a couple times but we wonder if once every 2-3 months is sustainable when trying to pass on the Faith to 3 young children. What would you all do?

            • Gail Sheppard says

              And they articulate their positions so well. We are honored they choose to do it here.

            • Mother of Six says

              Dear Seraphim,

              I saw your reply and question, “What would you all do?” and have been praying about it since! I am so sad that this is your situation, but know that your family is not the only family, by far, having to navigate the same problem…finding a church to attend, with regularity, that agrees there was never a place for the restrictions in The Church in the first place. I talked to a friend yesterday and she mentioned Fr. John Whiteford’s blog. He is a priest in Texas. He has a WEALTH of information and printable material on how to have readers services at home. Perhaps this is a time to teach the kids how the services work and let them be a part of doing it at home in-between trips to the other parish. Here is that link:
              Fr. John posts these each month and there is also more posted here:

              Quite honestly, I don’t even know. My husband was a choir director and cradle Orthodox and so I take for granted all that he just knows and instinctively teaches our children. This is on my list of things to do as a mother and old convert to Orthodoxy.

              The other thing that we, as a community of families, have found here, myself included, is the importance of a spiritual father. Especially during this time. A priest you trust, you would trust counseling your children through questions about the faith, and someone that you can confess to. This does not have to be a local priest and perhaps the priest of the parish you travel to would be willing to hear confessions over the phone and also counsel you all as you navigate your next steps. It has been the greatest blessing. When things started breaking down at our former church years ago, I found someone I trusted and have “gone” to him for scheduled phone confessions along with general questions where my husband and I just needed some spiritual guidance. This can also help your kids depending on how old they are. Even this hard experience and situation can be an opportunity to teach them that being Orthodox sometimes means you have people, out of state or far away, but people that you trust are out there none the less and not to give up their faith just because of a, hopefully, temporary logistical issue. I pray God will direct your thoughts to this person, a GOOD spiritual father, who will be able to give you wisdom in your specific situation and tangible things to do in the meantime. I will be praying for you and your family!

              • Seraphim says

                Mother of Six,
                Thank you for your reply. You raised some good points I will certainly think about. I am familiar with Fr. John but have yet to take advantage of his resources. It’s very hard getting motivated to do home services, cutting out distractions, getting the kids to cooperate when they have gotten used to playing on Sunday mornings. But I know these are excuses I need to overcome.

                The priest at our new parish is a great person. I think we can probably get by doing confession with him a few times a year. Not ideal but some do it even less. My wife and I do have a spiritual father, thank God. He was the one who got the ball rolling where we were able to find our current parish. I plan on asking him about this as well.

                I doubt we will ever be able to fully trust the parishes here. So the question just becomes, assuming lifted restrictions, is regular reception of the sacraments worth going somewhere where you don’t completely trust people or fit in? That’s what we’ll have to answer. Thank you for your prayers. We will pray y’all as well.

          • Mother of Six, and Mom of Toddler, I just want to thank both of you for your great courage and for standing up for the true Faith. You’re both heroes in my book.

  38. Mother of Six says

    George, thank you! Gail, thank you for your tireless work on making this blog a place of refuge…you and George together have given us a place to be united in this weird year and time. May God greatly bless and keep you both! Many Many Years!!

  39. Michaela says

    Has anyone researched if the SputnikV vaccine in Russia is completely clear of fetal cell lines in it’s development or production? I hope to return to Russia and would like info on this, thank you.

  40. Sam Young says

    …if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them.
    Holy Apostle Mark