Being a companion to the sick
Fr. Adamantios Avgoustidis (†)
I first met Fr. Adamantios when I was serving as priest of the Hospital of the Red Cross, at the chapel of St. Catherine’s, in Athens. It was not a scheduled appointment. He had come to the hospital with Fr. Vasilios Thermos to seek me out. Both were then students of Theology at the University of Athens. They were not yet ordained. We sat in my office and discussed the difficulties that a priest encounters serving a large general hospital. A few years later, when Fr. Adamantios was ordained a deacon and doing his internship at the Agenition Mental Hospital nearby, he would come to St. Catherine’s to serve liturgy with me. Slowly, we formed a brotherly relationship, a deep friendship, which for me was a great blessing. Throughout the years, we “traveled” together in a noetic and physical manner, in many “ways” and to many “places”.
Our common journey in the area of Health started when His All-Holiness, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, appointed me to organize the 6th European Consultation for Hospital Chaplaincy. This took place at the Orthodox Academy of Crete in 2000. Participating where 23 representatives of various Christian organizations from 15 European Countries. The Church of Greece was not able to send a representative. When His Eminence Metropolitan Ieronymos of Thebes and Livadeia learned of this decision, he decided to send Fr. Adamantios to the Consultation to represent his Metropolis. Fr. Adamantios was then serving as a priest in the Metropolis of Levadia and Thebes. He was also the Director of the Center for Mental Health and Pastoral Care of the Center for Mental Health and co-director of the newly formed program for de-institutionalizing patients from the Mental Hospital of Leros, which was located in Levadia. Fr. Adamantios’s participation in the Cretan Consultation was crucial in helping to define the meaning of pastoral care within a secular society of health care workers. In Crete, the European Network for Hospital Chaplaincy was formed. He later became a vital part of the Network, which continued to grow.
Fr. Adamantios brought together scientific knowledge, a deep understanding of theology and a firm stance that pastoral care cannot be separated from its ecclesiological content. He was open to dialogue on many levels of communication and was most capable in building bridges and healing conflicts. We shared a common concern for the cultivation of a high standard of care offered by clergy and medical professionals as well and an ongoing dialogue between religion and health.
Your contribution in the area of pastoral care, especially in the area of health, will remain as a precious gift to the entire Church and to the field of Medicine. The way you dealt with your illness is proof that all you wrote about illness is indeed true.
Thank you for the many years that we journeyed together, for your tender and loving companionship and friendship, for all that we experienced together on a professional and personal level. I will greatly miss you. Now, the only thing that echoes in my ears are your words:
“May we have a good resurrection”
“May we have a good reunion”.
Father Stavros Kofinas
Συντροφεύοντας τον άνθρωπο που νοσεί –
εισαγωγή στην ποιμαντική της υγείας
π. Αδαμαντίου Αυγουστίδη (†)
Η μέριμνα της Εκκλησίας για τους ασθενείς είναι μοντέρνα ακτιβιστική δραστηριότητα ή παραδοσιακό καθήκον;
Πως επηρέασε η οργανωμένη διακονία των ασθενών τις θεολογικές διαμάχες τον αντιαιρετικό αγώνα και τη σχέση της Εκκλησίας με τον κόσμο;
Πόσο διαφορετικά αντιμετώπισαν το ζήτημα της φροντίδας για τους ασθενείς η Ορθόδοξη και οι Δυτικές Εκκλησίες;
Ποιά παρουσία έχει και ποιά οφείλει να έχει η Εκκλησία μέσα στο σύγχρονο νοσοκομείο;
Σε τέτοιας φύσεως ερωτήματα επιχειρεί να απαντήσει αυτό το βιβλίο, αξιοποιώντας πλούσια βιβλιογραφικά δεδομένα, πατερικά κείμενα και εμπειρικό υλικό.