On Sunday, Archbishop Chrysostomos II told state broadcaster CyBC that the priests will be sent home since they refused to be inoculated and advocated against coronavirus vaccinations.
He claims that 27 of his diocese’s 123 priests are still unvaccinated, including 15 who have medical exemptions.
The remaining 12 will be suspended for three months as of Tuesday, and if they continue to oppose the archbishop, their suspension will be extended to six months, with the possibility of defrocking, according to Chrysostomos.
He said it was “unprecedented” to have priests and even theologians disobey their chief bishop.
Chrysostomos, a cancer survivor, said some priests defied him due to his frail health.
He argued that the priests and theologians refuse to get jabbed, act out of “selfish motives”, and influence churchgoers.
Despite vaccination remaining optional in Cyprus, the archbishop issued strong guidelines to priests and theologians to get vaccinated.
He backed the government’s campaign to vaccinate the population from the start, being one of the first people to get jabbed in December 2020.
Last year, Chrysostomos warned he would not tolerate employees who refuse to get vaccinated and priests who don’t wear masks and incite their congregation to reject the jab.
Covid-19 infections have declined in recent weeks after peaking at 5,457 on January 4.
January also recorded 93 deaths, the highest since the pandemic.
The Republic of Cyprus has officially recorded 253,350 coronavirus cases and 731 deaths since the start of the pandemic.
Around 74.7 percent of the country’s one million population has received a first jab, while 71.1 percent are fully vaccinated, according to the health ministry.