“I warmly beseech Greek Australians to take the advice of scientists seriously and be especially careful,” Father Christos Dimolianis told Neos Kosmos.
“COVID-19 is a virus that threatens our lives.”
Fr Dimolianis knows the meaning of COVID-19 first hand after he, his wife and two church chanters tested positive for the virus.
The well-known and beloved cleric of St Eustathios in South Melbourne went through tough days in intensive care in Melbourne.
Speaking to Neos Kosmos, he said that he had previously been a nurse before joining the clergy and had absolute faith in science.
“Nonetheless, obviously because here in Australia we have not seen or lived through the experiences of other countries, such as Italy, the UK or Spain, and I, too, had the feeling that COVID-19 was a flu. As I am relatively young, enjoy good health, don’t smoke and so, I thought that even should I be infected, it would not be serious.”
READ MORE: Greek government investigates priests flouting COVID-19 rules, offering Holy Communion
He changed his viewpoint after ending up in intensive care.
“I truly suffered and was afraid. I was short of breath, had a high temperature and my oxygen fell to dangerous levels. I was really in danger,” he said, adding that he has not recovered and is still suffering.
He believes that he was infected at a funeral, along with his presvytera (wife) and another two church chanters.
“The presvytera and one of the chanters remained under home quarantine, but the other chanter and myself ended up in hospital. In fact, the other chanter was in a worse condition than me and had to be placed on a ventilator,” he said, adding that the chanter in question had received the first dose of the vaccination a few days before being hospitalised.
READ MORE: Greek Orthodox church of Thomastown among tier 1 COVID-19 exposure sites in Victoria
“I started my recovery at home, however the situation worsened quickly and presvytera called Emergency Services which took me to the hospital immediately,” Father Christos said.
“I had not been vaccinated. I am not against the vaccinations but I had not been in a hurry. I will get vaccinated now.”