Romanian Patriarchate, Ministry of Health sign protocol to ensure religious assistance in hospitals

On Tuesday, October 25, 2022, the Romanian Patriarchate and the Ministry of Health signed a Protocol regarding the conduct of Christian-Orthodox religious assistance activities in health units subject to the Ministry of Health.

The two institutions were represented by His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel of the Romanian Orthodox Church and Prof. Dr Alexandru Rafila, Romania’s Minister of Health.

This protocol, which revises and replaces those of 1995 and 2008, is intended to regulate the activity of Christian-Orthodox religious assistance in health units subordinate to the Ministry of Health, as well as the collaboration between the two institutions in the field of medical assistance integrated with the fields of social and religious assistance.

His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel și Minister Alexandru Rafila signing a protocol for religious assistance in health units, October 25, 2022. Photo: Lumina Newspaper / Luigi Ivanciu

The mission and responsibilities of the hospital priest are outlined in light of more than 25 years of engagement of the Romanian Orthodox Church in health care facilities, reiterating his primary responsibilities:

  • Performs religious services in accordance with the programme established by the appropriate diocese, with the approval of the health unit’s administration;
  • Regularly visits the patients in the unit where he works;
  • Maintains spiritual conversations with patients and their family members;
  • Provides religious services in emergency cases and administers the Holy Mysteries and hierourgies in compliance with the provisions of the Romanian Orthodox Church;
  • Cultivates and maintains a balanced religious environment, avoiding all forms of proselytism and supporting, upon request, those of different confessions to receive spiritual assistance from the church/denomination to which they belong;
  • Provides religious assistance to healthcare facility staff upon request;
  • Performs extraordinary services such as the burial of the deceased, abandoned or without relatives, the baptism of infants in imminent risk of death or at the request of the parents, etc.

As there are presently more than 250 Orthodox priests working in health care institutions, the parties have resolved to work together to create a post in charge of religious support inside the Ministry of Health.

Photo: Lumina Newspaper / Luigi Ivanciu

The two institutions are committed to promoting:

  • Adopting a healthy lifestyle through health education and religious education;
  • Avoiding the consumption of products that impair health such as tobacco, alcohol, drugs, foods and drinks that have a negative impact on health, etc.;
  • Educating and supporting to raise awareness of the vital role of the child in the health of the family and society;
  • Improving access to primary health care services by raising awareness of the importance of consulting a doctor at the first sign of illness and for regular preventive consultations.

The protocol was signed for a ten-year duration.

Press office of the Romanian Patriarchate

Photography courtesy of Lumina Newspaper / Luigi Ivanciu

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