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The spreading of Swine Flu and

the Mysteries (Sacraments) of our Church

Source: http://www.imml.gr/webpages/egkyklioi/2009/41.htm 


A spiritual Encyclical containing many messages was issued by the Metropolitan of Mesogaia and Lavreotiki, fr. Nicholas,

regarding the spreading of the Swine Flu virus in 2009 and the Mysteries of our Church.



Subject: «The spreading of the swine flu virus and the Mysteries of our Church»,

To the pious people of our Sacred Metropolis

Dear brethren,


Recently, on account of the outbreak of the pandemic of Swine Flu, the matter of possible transmission of sicknesses through Holy Communion was also -unnecessarily- brought up.  Unfortunately, with an unbecoming vocabulary, a sarcastic attitude and argumentation that was not in the least well-meaning, one more attempt has been made to dismantle our Faith, at a time when we have no other support to hold on to. So, with this opportunity, I think it proper to provide certain truths, which are necessary for preserving the priceless treasure of our Faith inside us. 


Our Church has been transmitting the grace of Her Mysteries for two thousand years, in the familiar, very humane and simultaneously blessed way, for the "healing and therapy of soul and body".  She has never needed to speculate with the contemporary logic of irreverent doubting, but has been living day to day with the experience of affirmation of a supreme miracle.  How is it ever possible for communion with God to be a cause of sickness or even the slightest harm?  How is it ever possible for the Body and the Blood of our Lord and God to pollute our body and our blood?  How is it possible for a daily experience of over two thousand years to be quashed by mere rationalism and the cold shallowness of our time?


Faithful people - both healthy and sick - have been receiving Holy Communion for centuries, distributed by the same holy Communion spoon - which is never washed and never disinfected - and never has anything been observed.  Priests who serve in hospitals, even in hospitals for contagious diseases, all distribute Holy Communion to the faithful and then consume the remaining contents of the Chalice with reverence, and all of them enjoy long lives.  Holy Communion is everything that we as a Church and as people hold holy; it is the supreme medication for soul and body. That is likewise the teaching and the experience of our Church.


Those who are distrustful of the miracle of the Lord's Resurrection, all those who scorn His birth by a Virgin, all those who deny the fragrance that emanates from holy relics, all those who show contempt towards everything holy and sacred, all those who conspire against our Church, all those who seek to eradicate the slightest trace of faith from our souls will naturally strive to exploit the opportunity to also insult the most sacred mystery of the Divine Eucharist.  


The fact that the Anglicans and the Catholics have decided for precautionary reasons to cease the distribution of Holy Communion in England and New Zealand respectively, if true, is not a show of prudence and freedom - as some would maintain - but instead, it actually highlights in the best possible way the huge distance between our Church, which is eucharistic in Her theology and Her life and who lives, believes and preaches that Mystery/Sacrament, and the remaining christian groups, which are indirectly confessing the absence of Grace and God's signs from their so-called sacraments, as well as the loss of their ecclesiastic identity.  Life without a Mystery resembles a serious illness without a remedy.


Unfortunately, the big problem is not the flu virus - as the Mass Media are wont to advertise - nor is the virus of worldwide panic - as supported by the medical unions; it is actually the virus of irreverence and the microbe of disbelief. And the best vaccine is our frequent participation in the mystery of Holy Communion, "with a clean conscience" and an "irreprehensible" one.  Our response to this unholy provocation of our time is our very way of life.


It would be advisable, if our spiritual fathers could exhort the faithful (with due discernment, and provided there are no spiritual obstacles) to receive Holy Communion more frequently during these difficult times, while those of us who already have our spiritual fathers' blessings should also approach the Cup of Life more frequently. but always "with the fear of God, very much faith and sincere love".






Rev. Nikolaos Hatzinikolaou - Short Biography

  • Born in Thessaloniki, 1954.

  • A Graduate from the Physics Department of the University of Thessaloniki, Greece.

  • Master's degree in Astrophysics from Harvard University in Boston.

  • Master's degree in Mechanical Engineering from MIT in Boston.

  • Master's degree of Theological Studies from Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology.

  • Master's degree of Theology from Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, Boston.

  • 1986. Doctoral Degree from Harvard University. Specialized in Biomedical Engineering (Bio-fluid dynamics).

  • 2003. Doctoral Degree from Aristotelian University of Thessaloniki, School of Theology. Specialized in Bioethics.

  • 2008. Horonary Doctoral Degree from Univesrity of Athens, School of Theology (Science and Religion).

  • Worked as research fellow for various hospitals in Boston and as a consultant in space medical technology for Arthur D. Little and NASA.

  • In January 1988, went to Mount Athos, and since May 1990 to April 2004 served as a priest-monk at the Athonite Metochion of the Ascension in Athens.

  • Teaches the course «Hemodynamics Pathophysiology of Vascular Diseases» at the Medical School of Crete.

  • Since 1992, Director of the Hellenic Center for Biomedical Ethics.

  • Also, President of the Bioethics Committee of the Church of Greece and member of the National Bioethics Committee.

  • Was elected and ordinated Metropolitan of Mesogaea and Lavraeotica, April 30th, 2004.


Translation:   K.N.

Article published in English on: 4span>-8-2-2009.

Last update: 29-8-2018.