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Russian Orthodox Church Is Against Legitimizing Euthanasia

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  • Fr John Brian
    2005.04.25 RIAN Russian Orthodox Church Is Against Legitimizing Euthanasia MOSCOW, April 25 (RIA Novosti s Olga Lipich) - The Russian Orthodox Church is
    Message 1 of 1 , May 3, 2005
      2005.04.25 RIAN

      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
      remarked.

      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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