A Coast Guard boat delivered the first 400 doses of the Pfizer vaccine to Mount Athos on Friday, March 19, 2021. The vaccination center was set up in the health center in Karyes. On March 20, 2021, the first 36 monks were vaccinated, as well as staff-workers of monasteries, while the vaccinations will continue on March 20 and 21. The Abbot of the Holy Monastery of Esfigmenos, Archimandrite Mr. Bartholomew, was the first to be inoculated, followed by monks from the monasteries of Iveron, Koutloumousiou, Simonos Petras who went to Karyes especially for this purpose.
Last Wednesday, March 17, the start of the vaccinations on Mount Athos was planned, but due to the weather – there was strong wind – it was not considered appropriate to let the boat sail. There is relief among the monks that the vaccinations have started. According to information from makthes.gr, the initial caveats, the denial of some, even the conspiracy theories, have diminished. Typically, they even asked to vaccinate monks infected with coronavirus. Although the monastic state is in a lock-down and pilgrims are not allowed in, the monks are particularly scared, because the Coenobite system, according to which they live in small spaces, all attend church together and the virus is likely to spread. In addition, there are a significant number of monks who are elderly and have underlying illnesses.
Source text: makthes.gr. Read the whole article here.
Mount Athos has been in a lockdown since the beginning of December and, according to the decision of the Holy Community, the ban on entry for pilgrims is valid until March 30. The employees of the monasteries and employees who must enter the Athonite State, undergo a coronavirus test in Ouranoupolis and only can enter if it is negative. The Holy Community will discuss the matter in the coming days, but the lifting of the ban will depend on both the course of the pandemic and decisions made by the government.
Covid 19 cases were recorded on Mount Athos, where at least four monks lost their lives and many others were hospitalized in Thessaloniki.
Wim Voogd, 21-3
The lock down of Athos is now extended until April 15th.
Read more about the vaccinations here: