Healing Illness

When illness occurs, Orthodox Christianity affirms an ethical duty to struggle against sickness, which if unaddressed can lead to death. The moral requirement to care for the health of the body indicates it is appropriate to use healing methods that will enhance health and maintain life. Two means are used concurrently: spiritual healing and different forms of medicine. The first is embodied in nearly all services of the church, in particular, the sacrament of healing, or holy unction. There is also a continuing tradition of multiple forms of prayer and saintly intercessions for the healing of body and soul.

The church does not see spiritual healing as exclusive nor as competitive with scientific medicine. In the fourth century, Saint John Chrysostom, one of the great church fathers, frequently referred to his need for medical attention and medications. In his letters to Olympias, he not only speaks of his own use of medications but advises others to use them as well. Saint Basil, another great fourth-century church father, underwent various forms of therapy for his illnesses. In fact, both of these church fathers had studied medicine. Basil offers a classic Christian appreciation of the physician and the medical profession:

Truly, humanity is the concern of all of you who follow the profession of medicine. And it seems to me that he who would prefer your profession to all other life pursuits would make a proper choice, not straying from the right, if really the most precious of all things, life, is painful and undesirable unless it can be possessed with health. And your profession is the supply vein of health. (Epistle 189, To Eustathius, the Court Physician fourth century, p. 228)

Recent studies have highlighted the Eastern Orthodox church's concern with healing, both in its medical and spiritual dimensions. Orthodox monks established the hospital as a place of healing, a tradition maintained by Orthodox monasticism for almost a thousand years, until it was taken over by the medical establishment (Miller; Scarborough; Harakas, 1990).

Diabetes 2

Diabetes 2

Diabetes is a disease that affects the way your body uses food. Normally, your body converts sugars, starches and other foods into a form of sugar called glucose. Your body uses glucose for fuel. The cells receive the glucose through the bloodstream. They then use insulin a hormone made by the pancreas to absorb the glucose, convert it into energy, and either use it or store it for later use. Learn more...

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