Holy Orthodoxy on Modern Medicine.



When St. Basil the Great was asked if going to a doctor and taking medicine were in keeping with ways of piety, he replied:


Saint Basil the Great

Every art is God's gift to us, making up for what is lacking in nature... After we were told to return to the earth from which we had come [at the time of the Fall], and were joined to a pain-ridden flesh that is destined to die, and made subject to disease because of sin, the science of medicine was given to us by God in order to relieve sickness, if only to a small degree (The Long Rules). Therefore we may have recourse to physicians and take medicine, for this science is a gift from God.

God has given the herbs of the earth, and its drugs, for the healing of the body, commanding that the body, which is of the earth, should be cured by various things of the earth.

When man fell from Paradise, he came immediately under the influence of disorders and maladies of the flesh....God therefore gave medicine to the world for comfort, for healing and care of the body, and permitted them to be used by those who could not entrust themselves completely to God (St. Macarius the Great, Homily 48).

When to go to the doctor, and how often, should be a matter of common sense. But when we go, we should

not forget that no one can be cured without God. He who gives himself up to the art of healing must also surrender himself to God, and God will send help.

The art of healing is not an obstacle to piety, but you must practice it with fear of God" (Sts. Barsanuphius and John, Philokalia). To put our hope in the hands of a physician is the act of an irrational animal. Yet this is precisely what happens with those unhappy people who unhesitatingly call their doctors their 'saviors'. On the other hand, it is surely foolish to entirely reject the benefits of the medical art" (St. Basil the Great, The Long Rules). We should not knowingly or willingly despise the help of a physician. God is the Creator of all men and all things: not of the patient only, but also of the physician, the physician's wisdom, medicinal plants, and their curative power."

We should definitely not place our hope for relief from pain in medicine, but trust that God will not allow us to be tried beyond that which we can bear.

Here he was addressing himself to those who run to a doctor on every pretext, and who forget this important guideline: "Whether or not we make use of the medical art, we should hold to our objective of pleasing God and helping the soul, fulfilling this precept. Whether you eat or drink or whatsoever else you do, do all to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31)


+ Glory to God for All Things +


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