In October 2021, the Patriarch of Istanbul, Sahag Mashalian, delivered at the Holy Hovhannes Church in the Kumkape district of Istanbul a very strange sermon full of conspiracies and fear-mongering statements. His anti-scientific and irresponsible words were intended to deter his parishioners from getting vaccinated against the coronavirus, thus endangering their lives.
In his sermon, the patriarch quoted from Chapter 13, Verses 16-18 of the Book of Revelation in the Bible. I am not a theologian, but I believe he is misusing verses from the Bible to spread falsehoods and disinformation. The Book of Revelation, an enigmatic work by Apostle John, has many interpretations, but linking his writings to a virus that surfaced two thousand years after his death is senseless and dangerous, particularly in Turkey which has the sixth highest number of deaths in the world from the coronavirus.
The patriarch began his sermon by referring to the following passage of the Book of Revelation: The beast “forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name…. That number is 666.”
Here are excerpts from the Patriarch’s bizarre sermon which I have translated into English:
“And whoever will not have this seal [of the beast] will not be able to do any business, will not be able to travel, [and] will not even be able to eat bread…. Therefore, placing a technology chip in our body, on our hand or our forehead, we understand that it is the symbol of perfect control. This means that wherever you go, they will know where you are. Whatever information exists about you will be in it [the chip]: your illnesses, your relationships, your condition, [and] your bank accounts. It will all be in it. Your health will be in it. And without it, you will not be able to do anything. And, of course, this will be presented to us as progress, as a technological advantage. And sometimes we will willingly take this chip.
“These are no longer theories. In certain European countries, this system has started. What will we do? What will we be? When the time comes, they will compel us to have such chips in which it’s written 666 or the name of that son of Satan. What will we do? Christians have always spoken about this topic as a musing that it will happen in the future. People in the future should think about it. But it has come now. It came to our doors. In a few years, at the latest in the year 2030, this development will become a reality.