Communiqué on Organ Transplantation and Donation

In Athens, July 16/29, 2013

Protocol n. γ-1776

Communiqué on Organ Transplantation and Donation

To all the Clergy and Laity throughout the Nation

Beloved children of the Church of Christ,

The Holy Synod of the Church of the Genuine Orthodox Christians during its session on June 7/20 2013, having investigated assiduously the question of “brain death,” organ transplantation, and “presumed consent,” ruled the following:

1. “Brain death” is an arbitrary term. Death is the definitive cessation of cardiopulmonary function. What is called “brain death” is in essence a condition of grave illness. The harvesting of vital organs from a gravely ill patient accelerates his death and, from an ethical point of view, is murder.

2. Therefore, the extirpation of vital organs for the purpose of transplantation is forbidden. Only the extirpation and transplantation of non-vital organs is permitted, provided that such extirpation will not cause the death of the donor (i.e. the donation of one kidney).

3. What is called “presumed consent” (i.e. the automatic presumption that all are organ donors, with the exception of declared non-donors ) is deemed ethically unacceptable as well. Since, however, such a law has been legislatively approved, all the Faithful are called to declare themselves non-donors according to the attached example [1], of which the Parish Councils are instructed to provide copies to be distributed at each parish's candle desk. Please note that a deadline has not been placed for such declarations.

To inform the flock, the Holy Synod has decided to organize two theological conferences on the matter at hand in Athens and Larisa, on September 10/23 2013 and September 18/October 1, 2013 respectively. The locations will be announced.

At the command of the Holy Synod

+PHOTIOS of Marathon

Chief-Secretary of the Synod

Translated from the Greek

Footnotes

[1]This is for use in Greece and can be found here.

Orthodox Awareness

Hero-Worshipping: the Sickness of our Holy Struggle

“Trust ye not in princes, in the sons of men, in whom there is no salvation.”
(Psalm 145:3)

We mustn’t have absolute trust in human beings for our salvation, no matter what dignity they have. Human beings are changeable. Today they are saints, tomorrow—deniers. Today—sinners, tomorrow—righteous. We must have absolute trust in God, and in Him we must base our hopes of salvation. “Blessed is he of whom the God of Jacob is his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God” (Psalm 145:5). Read more...

Missions

Saint Matthew the Evangelist, Jonesboro, Arkansas

Jonesboro is a town located near the Eastern border of Arkansas, with a population of approximately 60,000. From a human standpoint, it’s not the most likely candidate for a traditional Orthodox mission, but for an Orthodox Christian who orders his priorities around Christ and His Church, it makes perfect sense. Read more...