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Archbishop Chrysostomos II of Cyprus during his 2021 meeting with Pope FrancisVatican News/YouTube

(LifeSiteNews) – Fulfiling a promise, the Orthodox Archbishop of Cyprus announced that he will suspend 12 priests in his diocese for not taking one of the abortion-tainted COVID jabs.

Archbishop Chrysostomos II made the strong comments to state television CyBC on January 30, revealing as of February 1 that 12 priests would be suspended if they continued to refuse his COVID jab mandate.

A total of 27 of the 123 priests remained un-injected, with 15 of the clergy having obtained a medical exemption. The remaining dozen will face an initial three-month suspension, which will then become six months, and eventually lead to being defrocked. 

The Orthodox archbishop of Cyprus had threatened in early January that unless his clergy take the abortion-tainted COVID shots by January 15 they will be kicked out of his diocese.

Chrysostomos accused the un-injected priests of being theologians who were responsible for persuading Orthodox faithful to also refuse the injection. Their actions were born out of “selfish motives,” said the 80-year-old archbishop, who described their refusal as “unprecedented.” 

Chrysostomos, who survived cancer a few years ago, suggested that the priests were emboldened to reject his mandate due to his own poor health.

A petition was set up January 31, calling for Chrysostomos to resign with immediate effect, and as of February 1 has already gained 2,000 signatures.

The petition describes Chrysostomos as enacting a “cruel form of dictatorship , coercion” against the unvaccinated clergy. 

In July 2021, he announced his mission to cut the €5 million provided by the archdiocese to cover clergy salaries to pressure priests to get the jab.

Nor is the archbishop’s mandate limited to clergy. Last July, Chrysostomos announced the firing of eight unvaccinated archdiocesan employees after having warned them in a private meeting. “I respect them, why shouldn’t they respect me?” he asked.

Chrysostomos, installed in office in 2006, was among the first to take a COVID injection, receiving his first dose in late December 2020. Having now taken three doses of the experimental abortion-tainted gene therapy, Chrysostomos has repeatedly promoted the injections and vilified those who refuse them.

Indeed, at the outset of the COVID era, he rebuked healthcare workers who were calling for churches to be reopened for worship, stating “they should mind their own business; there is no need to meddle in the matters of the Church.” 

Chrysostomos has previously echoed Pope Francis’ own promotion of the injections, saying it is a “Christian duty” to be injected, and even attacking those who described the COVID jab as a work of the devil, suggesting they did “not have true faith in Christ” or “believe in his resurrection.”