The Bishop of Morphou says he will keep churches in his diocese open to the public, contrary to the latest government measures, with the Metropolitan adding he is ready to face trial in a court of law.
Morphou Bishop Neophytos, whose controversial comments in the past raised eyebrows and set in motion investigations against him, issued a statement on Wednesday following the announcement of new measures against the spread of the coronavirus, including the closure of shopping malls, restaurants, and worship services.
The bishop accused the government of taking measures “designed to fail, so that people can gradually become desperate, society turn into chaos, and systematically cultivated fear defeat faith.”
The bishop says measures are 'designed to fail, so that people can gradually become desperate, society turn into chaos, and systematically cultivated fear defeat faith'
Neophytos also spoke against the coronavirus vaccine, referring to the first inoculations set to roll out sometime in late February on the island, arguing that shots would include genetic alterations that introduce side effects linked to a “digital identity” in accordance to plans promoted by a New World Order.
The controversial bishop went on to use as an example China’s use of QR codes, machine-readable barcodes attached to items containing information, saying he was not a conspiracy theorist but someone who was rejecting a “conspiracy against freedom, a gift from God.” He also argued the British were already discouraging vaccinations amongst pregnant women or those who wished to become pregnant in the future.
The bishop’s comments came following an open letter by Elpidoforos Soteriades, a Business and Health Administration professor at Cyprus Open University, who penned an indicting letter a day earlier against the government over pandemic measures.
Soteriades, who also has a medical degree with a doctoral track on epidemiology, wrote a letter to the President asking for the government to reconsider measures as well as be more flexible in evaluating them.
No rope barriers or seat restrictions
Neophytos, who cited Soteriades in his own statement, said there would be no rope barriers or seat restrictions in churches within the diocese, noting that no priests or commissaries would be allowed to block access to churchgoers attending services or groups of people attending special ceremonies, essentially defying a government-imposed 10-people limit for christenings, weddings, and funerals.
The bishop also said he was ready to take full responsibility for his decisions, calling on authorities not to hold priests and deacons responsible but go directly to him.
“I stand ready, for the sake of the unobstructed operation of our temples and churches and worship services, to appear in a court of law,” Neophytos said.
Archbishop reportedly upset
Archbishop Chrysostomos, who is reportedly upset with bishops not complying with pandemic measures, had a discussion with the President over the issue.
According to Kathimerini sources, the Archbishop landed hard on unruly bishops, saying “it is not okay for the average person to comply with the measures and take a hit on income while some Synod members are doing their own thing.”