THE HOLY SYNOD OF THE CHURCH OF GREECE
14 IOANNOU YENNADIOU STREET – ATHENS 115 21
SYNODIC COMMITTEE ON HERESIES
25TH PAN-ORTHODOX CONFERENCE OF AUTHORIZED CHURCHES AND SACRED METROPOLISES ON MATTERS OF HERESIES AND PARA-RELIGION (Volos, 4-6.11.2013)
The 25th Pan-Orthodox Convention of Authorized Orthodox Churches and Sacred Metropolises on matters of heresies and para-religion, which took place under the auspices of His Beatitude Hieronymos II, Archbishop of Athens and All Greece at the Conference Center of Thessaly in Melissiatika, Volos,from the 4th to the 6th of November 2013, with the hospitable provision of the Very Reverend Metropolitan Ignatios of Demetrias and Almyros, and under the chairmanship of the Very Reverend Metropolitan Anthimos of Thessaloniki, President of the Synodic Committee on Heresies, on the subject of “The problem of illness, heretical and occultist approaches”, unanimously approved the following resolutions pursuant to an extensive discussion thereof:
1) The Conference preoccupied itself with the topic of illness and its therapy, the way they are perceived on the one hand by the Orthodox Church and on the other hand by contemporary heretical, occultist and oriental religious groups.
In order to comprehend the radical differences between these two approaches on the topic, knowledge of anthropology is necessary, and a prerequisite in every case.
Orthodox anthropology – on which the Orthodox view of the problem of illness and its therapy are based – acknowledges that man is one of God’s creations, comprised of two, harmoniously joined albeit different components: the body and the soul. Man is not only the soul, nor only the body; he is “both, together”.
2) Illness, according to the teaching of the Orthodox Church, has to do with man’s created status and is the result of his Fall - that is, his willful alienation from the source of life and incorruptibility: God. The Fall disrupted the harmonious coexistence of body and soul, with devastating consequences for both of them.
3) The assumption of human nature by God the Logos had opened the way for the retraction of death and the salvation of the whole man. The incarnation of the Logos and His victory over death have converted pain and illness into a “place” and a “way” for our salvation. Thereafter, they became the two media for salvation, provided man freely chooses to turn them to his advantage, in Christ.
4) In the assorted heretical, occultist and oriental religious groups we encounter various concepts regarding illness and its origin, that is:
a) In the heretical groups of the broader Protestant space, illness is understood either as the work of a punitive God, on account of personal sins, or as the exclusive work of the devil.
b) In the occultist “New Age” groups and the groups originating from the oriental religions, illness is understood either as the “blocking” of the smooth flow of energy (such as Prana, Chi, Universal Energy e.a.) in the human body.
5) The so-called “alternative therapies” are applications in the field of health, found in the concepts of the oriental religions and the “New Age of Aquarius” in regard to God, man and the world, which is why it would be more correct for them to be named “New Age Medicine”.
To these groups, everything is energy, everything is One (Theosophy’s “One is Everything”), and everything is God. On the basis of this view, they teach that by discovering their “God-self” and activating the occult powers that are supposedly hidden inside him, man can heal himself. The “unblocking” of energy is understood as self-healing.
6) The miscellaneous “alternative therapies” propose methods for “unblocking” that energy. Thus, Homeopathy for example proposes the “empowered” homeopathic medicines; acupuncture proposes piercing with needles at specific acupuncture points of the human body, which they claim to be the “energy meridians”. Other “therapies” such as Reiki propose “unblocking” by the “placing of hands” by an individual of a high spiritual level… who in reality is a “channeller of universal energies…”.
In certain “therapies” there even exists a practical linking of Christian terminology with occultist interpretations, within the cadre of theoretically substantiating the way in which the method supposedly works. Most groups utilize seemingly scientific terminology, aimed at impressing and deceiving the unsuspecting public. Then there are other groups such as Homeopathy, which, by insisting that with their “medications” they can even cure the passions of the soul - such as egotism, jealousy, anger, rage, etc., - are in fact encroaching on the opus of the Orthodox Church as a “spiritual infirmary”.
7) The so-called alternative therapies do not merely have occult extensions; their very foundations are located in the exo-Christian - specifically in the occult sphere. Most of them do not comprise a single proposal for healing of the body, but rather, profess transcendence (through the so-called “quantum leap” e.a.) into the “New Age” and the creation of a new type of human.
The Convention established that these “therapies” (Angel therapy, Ayurveda, Bach healing herbs, Aura Soma, Aromatherapy, Acupuncture, Bioenergy Therapies, Therapeutics for internal diseases, Craniosacral Therapy, Crystal Therapy, Homeopathy, Reiki, Reflexology, Shiatsu, pseudoscientific psychotherapies e.a.) have been based on an underlying world theory that runs contrary to - and does not compromise with - the Orthodox faith.
8) Their widespread propagation is evolving into a major social problem of a medical and pharmaceutical nature, with moral, social and spiritual extensions, sometimes even endangering human lives. It also creates serious spiritual and poemantic problems.
The State, having vouched – also through its Constitution – for the legitimate commodity of health, which is put at risk by the aforementioned “therapies”, must also take action in practice, in order to secure it.
These “therapies” threaten to alter the Orthodox conscience. They are potential “bridges”, which can bring unsuspecting Orthodox Christians into contact with oriental religions and Occultism.
9) The so-called alternative therapies, or, according to the Medical Association of Athens, “Unorthodox Therapeutic Methods”, in which an energy of a metaphysical order is predominant, are based on antiquated and fabular data. Absent in them is any kind of strict scientific methodology. They rely on improvable principles, which as a rule exist in the sphere of the imaginary. They do not utilize modern developments and methods of science and as such are characterized, both by official Greek and international medical carriers and associations, as pseudo-sciences.
According to the above scientific carriers, any chance therapeutic result – if it indeed might exist – usually is expressed as self-healing, psychosomatic and vegetative nervous ailments. It is attributed to the mechanism of virtual medication (placebo), which acts through self-suggestion. Classical Medicine is an applied science, which continuously researches and progresses, offering effective care to millions of patients.
10) The Conference also concerned itself with the “therapies” held in the groups within the general Protestant sphere (Neo-Pentecostals, “Charismatics”, Christian Science, etc… etc.), but also to those within Roman Catholicism, insofar that it has adopted Protestant “charismatic” practices. Among the supposed therapies in the aforementioned spheres, there is no lack of “therapies” on request (fraud phenomena) – a kind of show that not only does not provide any real healing, but instead becomes the object of austere criticism, even by other groups belonging to the same sphere.
11) Whether they are of the Pentecostal or New Age kind, pseudo-therapies are regarded as cases either of veiled fraud, or phenomena of psychological suggestion, or badly presented mimicries of wondrous biblical therapies – without precluding the possibility of demonic synergy. As such, they are signs of the Antichrist.
Their basic difference with the miraculous therapies by Saints is that their ulterior purpose is to mislead mankind and lead it away from the one true Physician of souls and bodies – Jesus Christ.
12) As God’s creation, man – according to the Fathers of the Church – is complete and truly healed, only when fully united with Jesus Christ, within the Orthodox Church.
The Convention unanimously approves the above mentioned Resolutions and hereby authorizes its Chairman to undersign them.
The Chairman of the Convention:
† Metropolitan Anthimos of Thessaloniki
The Authorized representatives of the Orthodox Churches:
The Ecumenical Patriarchate: Metropolitan Damascenos of Kydonia and Apokoronas
The Patriarchate of Alexandria: Metropolitan Proterios of Ptolemais
The Patriarchate of Jerusalem: Archibishop Demetrios of Lydda
The Patriarchate of Russia: Hegumen Feofan Lukianov
The Patriarchate of Serbia: Hieromonk Eusebius Meandzia
The Patriarchate of Rumania: Professor Cyprianos Stretza
The Church of Cyprus: Protopresbyter Demetrios Kostopoulos
The Church of Greece: Protopresbyter Kyriakos Tsouros
The Church of Poland: Protopresbyter Andreas Levcak
The Chairman of the Convention:
† Metropolitan Anthimos of Thessaloniki
Translation by A.N.
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