Six nuns and three priests are among the 117 people being treated in hospitals for coronavirus, state health services (Okypy) spokesman Charalambos Charilaou said on Saturday.

“A surge is spreading in a specific convent,” Charilaou told Cybc, with six nuns being treated at Larnaca hospital. All are unvaccinated.

Charilaou added that there are also three priests, also unvaccinated, at Limassol hospital.

“The vast majority of hospitalised patients are unvaccinated. People who have not been vaccinated are much more likely than anyone to become seriously ill and to need to be treated in the ICU,” he said.

This news about the clergy outbreak comes days after the Holy Synod reaffirmed its support for inoculations as a means of fighting the pandemic following an appeal by President Nicos Anastasiades on Thursday.

Despite Archbishop Chrysostomos’ vocal support for the Covid vaccine, certain members of the clergy, particularly Morphou bishop Neophytos, who recently recovered from the virus, continue to stand firmly against.

Neophytos, who refused to speak to the media on Thursday, has said previously he would not get the jab, because he did not want to become like a genetically modified product.

He was also accused of breaking measures against the spread of coronavirus by encouraging his congregation to attend church services when they were banned and refused to pay a fine imposed on him for his actions.

In later statements following the meeting however, he said he and the other bishops “agreed with his Beatitude’s proposal that within the Holy Synod we will voice our dissent whenever we happen to disagree with a decision by the majority.

“But in public, we shall remain silent, provided that we are not provoked into responding, and we will publicly express our assent with the decisions of the majority of the Holy Synod, whenever we happen to agree.”

In a postscript, Neophytos said that speeches and sermons will continue without reference to vaccinations.

Despite this, the Union of Cyprus Communities revealed on Saturday that several priests in Morphou communities continue to preach against vaccinations in their sermons.

Union head Andreas Kitromilides told Cybc that after receiving complaints about an Archimandrite sermon in Platanistasa which tried to discourage people from getting jabbed, officials discovered that this was not an isolated incident, uncovering complaints from other nearby communities.

He finally said community leaders are concerned and will address the issue in their next meeting.