The Orthodox Healing as a Subject of Anthropological Research

  1. Lemma
  2. Православное врачевание как предмет антропологического исследования
  3. Russian
  4. Asliturk, Miriam
  5. Scientific theories and disciplines > Medicine - Orthodox theological tradition and practice > Cult and spirituality - Concepts of knowledge and modes of reasoning > Mysticism and Orthodox spiritual experience
  6. 09-05-2017
  7. Поповкина, Галина Сергеевна [Author]. Православное врачевание как предмет антропологического исследования
  9. allopathic medicine - traditional medicine - Russian Orthodox Church
  10. Click Here
    1. <p>Поповкина, Галина Сергеевна (2011). Православное врачевание как предмет антропологического исследования. <em>Россия и АТР. </em>Retrieved from: <a href=""> </a> <br /><br /></p>
    1. The author argues that healing in the Orthodox Christian tradition differs from unscientific profane “magical” healing. Orthodox Christian healing is considered by the Russian Orthodox Church to be a legitimate form of medicine. Orthodox Christian healers come from a tradition of priests that is based on belief in God’s will, truth, and the absolute. This is perceived as different from magical healing, which heals from the tradition of magicians and wizards that manipulate the laws of nature and try to adapt them for their own purposes. According to the author, Orthodox Christian healing adopted only the rational parts of traditional healing. Orthodox Christian monasteries for example cultivated special gardens with medicinal herbs.

      The author argues that the main difference between common profane healing and Orthodox Christian healing is in their attitude to life. Traditional healers act from an assumption that life is the supreme value while the Orthodox Church philosophy believes that God’s laws are more important than extending one particular human existence in this actual life. In other words, Christians focus on God’s will and pray for its realization, not for extending a lifespan. Christian tradition thus considers God’s laws to be supreme order. Profane “magical” healers, on the other hand, heal through a process of manipulations and rituals. For Orthodox Christianity, a disease is not necessarily a bad thing, it can also be seen as challenge that would help improve the soul. At the same time, according to the Orthodox Church, ill people should seek treatment from professional doctors. Seeing doctors is in fact seen as a sign of humility. Orthodox Christianity has a special ritual for healing the diseased – the extreme unction, anointing. The aim of the ritual is to prepare an ill person to surrender to the will of God. This is believed to be able to either heal or kill the person rapidly. Either way, the result is seen as the manifestation of God’s will. During the anointing process people receive celestial pardon and bodily healing. The main part of the ritual is the pardoning of sins. Medical recovery is a secondary effect of rituals, according to Orthodox Christianity. For the Russian Orthodox Church, the human is a triple unity of spirit, body, and soul.

      Medical services are one of the social services that the Russian Orthodox Church is able to provide to believers. In Russia, mass medical care was traditionally provided by the Russian Orthodox Church’s almshouses. The first hospital, for example, was founded in the 17th century in Moscow at the Fedorovsky Monastery. The Russian Orthodox Church’s attitude to health can be found in medieval scriptures on Russian saints and can be summarized as follows: absence of fear of bodily death because of faith in eternal life; belief in resurrection; seeing dejection as one of the mortal sins; prayer, asceticism, and humility as the main path to salvation.