By Lawrence B. Wheeler

The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, under the yoke of which many American Orthodox groan, is guilty of a new heresy which can be expressed in two parts. This most recent heresy is what one might call “Religious Covidism”. In my tentative definition for our Orthodox context, Religious Covidism is the unspoken contention that preservation of one’s physical health supersedes the need for one’s spiritual healing. 

Preservation of one’s physical health supersedes the need for one’s spiritual healing. 

Religious Covidism I 


After a year and a half of an epidemic whose severity has been blown way out of proportion to the actual threat to public health, the hierarchs have made it clear that their devotion to the sacramental life of the Church as handed down by Tradition is only secondary to a fastidious prevention of even the slightest threat of contagion by the novel coronavirus. For a time last year they shut down the parishes entirely. Even when they allowed them to open up, they demanded that each parish follow the strictest of all metropolitan or municipal restrictions. Inconvenient obstacles were put in the way of regular participation in the Divine Liturgy by parish councils who obediently followed all of the guidelines imposed. Access was severely limited to the life-giving sacraments of confession and absolution, and to the medicine of immortality which is the Eucharist. Initiation into the Faith by way of the rites of baptism and chrismation were long delayed. Weddings were rescheduled. By putting up these roadblocks to the mysteries, our hierarchs tacitly indicated that their loyalty to the mandates of the local magistrate trumped their faithfulness to Sacred Tradition. My real suspicion is that the hierarchs were afraid of being sued for liability if anyone blamed a local parish when he got sick.

To be sarcastic, you might say, “Who needs a bishop when you have a mayor to protect you?”

Loyalty to the mandates of the local magistrate trumps the requirement of faithfulness to Sacred Tradition.

Religious Covidism II

Without so much as stating it outright, the hierarchs have guided our Church from the standpoint of a truly worldly mentality. These two correlating statements are, I would posit, the New Heresy of the Greek Orthodox Church. As if the longer-standing heresies and schisms to which I have heretofore spoken were not already enough for us to deal with, now we have this new heresy. Wonderful. Sadly, some other Orthodox jurisdictions are not exempt from guilt, so it is not just GOARCH’s fault.

Only time will tell whether the hierarchs’ draconian measures have actually saved more lives than they have ruined. Since Covid-19 has a recovery rate of nearly 100% for most people, I seriously doubt it. Too many parishioners have stopped coming to services. There have been too many suicides and cases of depression; too many bankrupted retailers and stressed families to think that the bishops’ reflexive actions have done more good than harm. If we think like true Orthodox, heirs of the Church of the countless martyrs who paid for their salvation by sacrificing their lives before ancient magistrates, then we can only be dubious of our present leadership’s wisdom. May God grant them the humility to repent, although I am not going to hold my breath until they do. May God forgive us all for our mutual responsibility for their present offices.

Lawrence B. Wheeler

Handwritings on the Wall


  1. The Church, being an icon, makes infection impossible.

    Also if we as priests say this [infection can occur during the Liturgy], we demonstrate our estrangement from the ecclesiastical body. We have a serious form of clericalism in the Church if we think something like this.

    (Fr. Ioannis Drongitis on Covidism)

  2. Excellent article. Who needs piety and fascist organized “religion” and universal ecumenism when one already has a direct line of communication with our Savior Himself? This may indeed sound arrogant, but I know where I am going after my physical death in this secular world ends. I fear not! In fact, I rejoice in knowing that I am a child of God who is saved by His unmerited Grace and the blood shed of the sacrificial lamb. I don’t believe in prolonging life using drastic measures just to enrich a medical, pharmaceutical and governmental world of corporate greed knowing what awaits me at His appointed time. God has us covered. He is my Healer, Redeemer, Life Giver, Savior, Protector and so much more.

    These fake “KGB Intelligence Agents” of the Turkish Erdogan regime are so unholy and transparently disingenuously evil, who could possibly buy into their charades of foolishness? Their fear mongering is no different. FEAR IS THE ROOT CAUSE OF DECEPTION CREATED BY THE DEVIL in order to remove us from our relationship and faith in Christ. Unfortunately, for the many who still attend and sit in the pews today, they lack spiritual discernment and are more “loyal” to showing up for the sake of “showing up” to a church which is empty of Christ and filled with demonic worship.

  3. People of God vs. Children of God

    Under the old covenant, the Israelites were called God’s chosen people. Under the new covenant, we are the children of God.

    Under the law of God, the Israelites were required to love God with all their hearts, souls, and strength and their neighbors as themselves.

    “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength” (Deuteronomy 6:4-7).

    At that time, no one could love God perfectly 24/7. Nothing has changed today, no one can love God perfectly today 24/7 either. But the good news is under the new covenant, we discover God loves us perfectly 24/7. Believing God loves you perfectly is the key to loving Him, yourself, and others.

    “There is no fear in love [dread does not exist]. But perfect (complete, full-grown) love drives out fear, because fear involves [the expectation of divine] punishment, so the one who is afraid [of God’s judgment] is not perfected in love [has not grown into a sufficient understanding of God’s love]. We love, because He first loved us” (1 John 4:18-19, AMP).

  4. What’s really evident is that so-called Church leaders do not know how to deal with a national crisis (or anything else for that matter). There were common sense approaches and leadership that were not employed. Also, where was the Sacrament of Holy Unction? Why didn’t the bishops anoint their flock? It was never mentioned, never raised as an addition weapon in this terrible fight. The hierarchy are not spiritual leaders, they are grifters in every sense.

  5. Time to put these charlatans out of business.

    They are nothing more than Jim Baker, Jimmy Swaggert and all the rest of the looters using God for their own benefit wearing ritualistic clothing.


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