2021-11-02 19:55:00

Russian Church warns against turning vaccination into factor of national division

Moscow, November 2, Interfax - The Russian Orthodox Church considers it important to prevent a societal split over the issue of vaccination.

"We must not turn the vaccination problem, just as any other acute problem which may arise in our development, into a factor of national division," Vakhtang Kipshidze, deputy head of the Russian Orthodox Church Department for Church, Society and Media Relations, told a press conference in Moscow on Tuesday.

Despite the acuteness of this problem, "we must not allow it to be turned into a kind of watershed which pits one part of society against the other," Kipshidze said, arguing for such methods as cajoling, leading by example, and an attentive, calm, and kind attitude toward those with a different point of view.

Kipshidze also urged a careful and delicate approach on the issue of giving vaccinated people an advantage over those who are not. "In my view, the effect of coercion in this sphere is extremely limited, because it can cause still greater polarization and pit yet more people against others," he said.

The Church does not want such division to run through its congregation, which is why its churches do not require vaccination certificates or QR codes, expecting visitors to behave with "responsibility and conscience," he said.