Pastoral Healthcare

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...

Pastoral Thought of the Week

August 23, 2016

Hope, support and salvation of the sick

In the two canons of supplication to the Holy Virgin, the authors describe their personal inner state. They write that they are dizzy and lay deep in constant turmoil. They are distressed, wounded, sad and grieved; overcome by a lack of desire; constantly before the adverse enemies that provoke life’s calamities; afflicted by many temptations, they cannot find spiritual peace. This spiritual turmoil becomes even more complex with the pains and the injuries of the body, the decay of human nature and the threat of death that ties Man down to a bed of anguish, where there are cries, tears and groans.  

This turmoil and anguish comes from an inner struggle due to a   spiritual and physical inability to manage the passions and the situations in life. Their agony is centered on the fear that the passions, pains and concerns that surround them will annihilate their existential hypostasis and will prevent them from having a genuine direct relationship with their beloved Jesus Christ.

What redeems these faithful authors is that, even though they have absolute insight of their spiritual and physical condition, they do not become isolated in their selves and their pain. Contrarily, they do not lose perspective of the Other in their life. They place their hope in the the person that gave her life to the One who sacrificed His life for the salvation of the entire world. Just as the All Holy Virgin offered her will to God, those that are spiritually and bodily burdened, through their supplications to the comforting Mother of God, present their wounded and impaired self to Christ with hope that, through the intercessions of His mother, they will be saved.  

Although most of us experience the same spiritual and physical turmoil and dizziness that is expressed in the canons of supplication, few of us have thorough insight of our inner condition and the causes of our illnesses. Perhaps we do not want to know these causes and be relieved of our anguish. If we come to know them, we will have to change our way of life and to dislodge ourselves from our indolence and helplessness. When we become one with our pain, we lose the possibility to see and know the Other who can cure us from our maladies; we become isolated in our loneliness and remain cut off from our own self. Thus, we become more ungrateful, dissatisfied, offensive and unpleasant, without hope that we will receive comforting relief and salvation.