One of the most important ministries of the Church throughout its history has been providing spiritual care to the sick. The Ecumenical Patriarchate has always being sensitive to the needs of this ministry from the years of the Byzantine Empire up until now. Its clergy are active in providing pastoral care to the ill, both on a parish level and in specialized facilities. read more...
June 8, 2018
The healing apostolic mission of the Church
The healing mission of the Church is not to create a religious alternative to the science of medicine. Nor is it to provide a sort of emotional (sentimental) type of comforting to those that suffer. In the Church, we are called to acknowledge and proclaim God’s active presence in every healing process and, throughout this process, to preserve Man’s sacredness as an image of God.
The loss of human dignity in hospitals is not only due to the fact that the sick feel that they are separated from society and often feel exploited by today’s medical industry. It is also because those that are healthy in the wider society are separated from the sick. Thus, the sick cannot receive the love and support that is required for their healing; the healthy cannot learn from those that suffer so as to prepare themselves for their own inevitable personal sickness.
Healers are called to heal the patient in soul and body; to “raise” him and her so that they can live as persons within the grace of the Holy Spirit. Loss of human dignity in health care settings occurs when the sacredness of the patient is ignored and when health care settings do not function as healing communities of persons.
In such healing communities, the patient and the healer have similar tasks: 1) to facilitate the therapeutic process in light of the threat of death; 2) to integrate illness into all the phases of life, allowing it to be a catalyst for maturity and growth within the loving fellowship of the Holy Spirit. This is the obligation that the Christian community has before the sick and the therapist.