Staff priests will work in hospitals

2021-10-07

Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova said that the government will support the restoration and development of the institution of hospital priests. This statement was made by Golikova at a conference on the topic of spiritual assistance in medical institutions. Patriarch Kirill said that there are priests in the Russian Orthodox Church who have been trained and have already visited some hospital patients.

This raises many questions regarding the activities of priests in hospitals. It is customary to kiss crosses and icons when carrying out rituals in Orthodox Christianity. Will the patients do this, and if so, will the cult objects be disinfected after each patient? The operating hours of hospitals are designed in such a way as to bring maximum benefit to patients. There are no random people in hospitals, even the presence of relatives there is limited and sometimes even not allowed. Moreover, this applies to infectious diseases hospitals, visiting which by uninvolved persons can lead not only to a worsening of the condition of patients, but also to further spread of infection.

As some people say, religion is an opium for people, a kind of pain reliever. Apparently, the state intends to a certain extent to resolve the issue with psychological assistance to patients. The introduction of additional posts of psychologists into the hospital staff will require additional funding, which the authorities are not willing to allocate for the maintenance of hospitals. In return, the church will receive increased opportunities for conducting clerical propaganda, as well as an increase in the flow of funds collected from believers. Moreover, patients are often in a depressed mental state, which creates a fertile ground for church propaganda. At the same time, the strengthening of the church influence on the masses is also beneficial for the authorities.

But the clerics are no more fit for psychological help to the sick than a cabby for driving an airplane. Specially trained psychologists and psychotherapists with medical education should provide psychological assistance to patients and this will significantly improve the provision of medical care. It is possible to partially cover the costs of providing psychological assistance to the patients if, for example, the state budget ceases to provide support to the ROC. We remind you that 2.6 billion rubles were spent in 2016 to support the church.