Russian Orthodox Church Is Against Legitimizing Euthanasia
MOSCOW, April 25 (RIA Novosti's Olga Lipich) - The Russian Orthodox
Church is staunchly opposed to the idea of legitimizing euthanasia, or the
intentional killing of a person because of suffering or illness endured by
that person, Patriarch Alexis II of Moscow and All Russia was quoted as
saying by the Moscow Patriarchy's Exterior Church Relations Department.
In a letter to Konstantin Kosachev, Chair of the Foreign Affairs
Committee in the State Duma, or Russia's lower house of parliament,
Patriarch Alexis II asked him as head of the Russian delegation to the
Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly to voice the objection to
euthanasia at the next PACE session in Strasbourg. A copy of the
Patriarch's letter was sent to Rene van der Linden, Chairman of the PACE.
However grave a patient's condition, we should always hope for God's
mercy and for a miracle which may change the suffering person's state any
moment, Patriarch Alexis argued.
The Church knows of numerous examples when even fatally ill people
would miraculously recover or their illness would stop to progress, he
More often than not, patients asking for euthanasia do so in a state of
depression, which prevents them from adequately assessing their chances
for survival, the Russian Patriarch pointed out. According to him, the
enactment of a bill making euthanasia practices legal would have
disastrous implications not just for people asking for assistance in killing
themselves, but also for those agreeing to honor such a request.
Also, the legitimization of euthanasia would undermine all historically
accepted codes of medical ethics, which hold that a doctor's mission is to
help people carry on with their lives, not to help them die, Alexis II said.
Such legislation may also pose a potential threat to patients lacking money
for medical treatment, he warned.
According to Patriarch Alexis II, only those solutions can be regarded as
religiously justifiable that alleviate patients' suffering without depriving
them of "the divine and sacred gift of life."
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