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Organ donation

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'''Organ donation''' is the act of donating one or more bodily organ organs to another person so that it they may be used in anotherthe recipient's body to increase the risk chance of survival and/or health of the recipient. Such a transfer is called an '''organ transplant'''. Other donations of a similar nature include blood and bone marrow donations. The following will address organ donation by exploring both patristic and contemporary theological thought so as to gain an Orthodox perspective on the subject.
The human body consists of many organs==Factual Information== As humans with a fallen nature, and because of our fallen nature these organs human bodies are subject to corruption , decay, and decaydeath. Diseased organs often lead to Often, death of the physical body is brought about as a result of this corruption and decay in such afflicted personsthe organs of the body. Advances in medical and surgical technology in the past century include , however, now allow the prevention of death and the possibility improvement in health of persons afflicted with diseased organs by the receiving a healthy organ from another human or evenof new organs, in some cases, an animalwhich then replace the old. This is known widely utilized as organ transplantation. Organ transplants are performed almost worldwide to extend the life method of someone who has a diagnosed organ disease. The diseased organ is removed and in its place goes the donated organ. In some cases, multiple organs are transplantedhealing for such afflicted persons. The organ donor might may be one of the following:# a live volunteer, typically a relative of the recipient; # a person clinically diagnosed as brain dead, whose brain is no longer functioning, including the brain stem and cortex, which renders them unable to breathe unassisted; # a person whose organs were removed and preserved upon death until the need arises; # an animal such as a pig, often for its heart valves.
# A healthy human can donate a live volunteerkidney, typically a relative part of his or her liver, bone marrow, and blood without serious long term health risks. Surgeons can transplant many additional organs, such as the recipient;# a brain dead person with a heart beat but is unable to breathe unassisted; # someone whose organs were removed and preserved upon death until lungs, intestines, pancreas, and the need arises; # an animal such as a pigcorneas, often for its heart valvesif the donor is already dead.
A healthy human can donate a kidney==[[Scripture|Scriptural]] and [[Patristics|Patristic Thought]]== [[Apostle Paul|St. Paul]] says that we are called to glorify [[God]] in body and spirit, part saying that our bodies are "members of Christ" (1 Corinthians 6:15 NKJ). He goes on to say that "the body is… for the liverLord, bone marrowand the Lord for the body" (1 Corinthians 6:13 NKJ), and blood without serious long term health risksthe "body is the temple of the [[Holy Spirit]] who is in you" (1 Corinthians 6:18 NKJ). Surgeons can transplant many additional organsThough speaking specifically of fornication and gluttony, St. Paul makes it clear that the sanctity of the body is imperative and inviolate, such as in and through it we are joined to the heart Lord and lungsbecome one spirit with Him. St. John Chrysostom says of 1 Corinthians 6 that the body was formed "that it might follow Christ as a Head, intestinesand that the Lord might be set over the body." Likewise, pancreasIrenaeus of Lyons asserts that "God will bestow salvation upon the whole nature of man, consisting of body and corneassoul in close union, if since the donor is already dead. There is a small medical risk on Word took it upon him, and adorned with the part gifts of a live donor as it involves surgical removal the Holy Spirit, of whom our bodies are, and are termed, the organ or organstemples. "
Specifically in reference to medicine, history has shown that the church does not reject secular medicine. St. Luke the Evangelist, for instance, was known to be a physician (Col 4:14). Other saints, fathers, hierarchs, patriarchs, and priests were also known to be physicians by trade. The lives of many adults Church has always commemorated such physicians as Ss. Cosmas and childrenDamianos, boys Ss. John and girlsCyrus, young and oldSs. Panteleimon and Hermolaus, recognized for their theology and piety, as well as healing skills. In fact, are saved St. Basil the Great blessed the use of secular medicine saying that God worked just as much through such a donationthe visible world as the invisible. A donor Therefore, God’s grace is often hailed made manifest in society the ability to heal through medicine just as a hero; families often come together much as through miraculous cures. Further, as life long friends, sharing as the common bond goal of a donated organpleasing God and tending to spiritual health remains primary, medicine is in absolute harmony with Christianity. In this wayIt even makes us more acutely aware of God’s power. St. John Chrysostom, as well, such a donation is an expression stressed that those with the ability to relieve the suffering of love others and concern and sacrifice for the well being of another child of Godsave them from death had a responsibility to do so.
Historically However, there are also instances where the only solid human part fathers specifically expressed that was transplanted in ancient biblical times was the skin (Harakas, S.use of medicine, "Pastoral Guidelines", 2002). Blood transfusions were also performed. As far regarded so highly as I can tella Christian virtue, neither blood transfusions nor skin transplants were condemned by the Church during the Patristic Period. However, transplants of solid organs such as kidneys, liversshould be limited or even avoided at times, and corneas have only existed since the 20th century, that prayer and only since the 2nd half of the last century have transplants become more commonplace and safer piety should be employed as methods for both recipient and donora cure. There are therefore no patristic writings which deal directly The emphasis in healing has always been on prayer, even in conjunction with the issue of solid organ donations and organ transplantssecular medicine. HoweverSt. Basil says “do not forget that without God there is no healing for anyone, Father Stanley Harakas and other modern Orthodox theologians have written several statements concerning organ donation, and many of these statements are available “Those who resort to physicians, may they resort to them while relying on God, saying: ‘It is in the Internet (see External Links below)name of God that we entrust ourselves to physicians, believing that He will grant us healing through them.
Father Stanley, Thus the emphasis in particular tells us that we should always respect the body writings of the donor, whether alive or dead, fathers has always been placed on healing in conjunction with prayer and we should carefully consider such a decision to donateawe at the Lord’s miracles. The donation should certainly be a voluntary act illnesses of the body are never attended to without attention to the illnesses of lovethe soul, which are far more paramount. Blood And the sanctity of the body, as the temple of the Holy Spirit, must always be respected and marrow donations should not be as great an issue as it involves no surgery honored by the physicians and causes no obvious harmthe patients.
Fr==Current Orthodox Positions==It is this sanctity that must be considered in organ donation and transplantation. Harakas adds This sanctity must be respected by all parties involved, be they doctor, donor, recipient, or bystanders such as relatives and friends. And while this is still a controversial topic about which the Orthodox Church as a whole has no unified stance, there are several factors that noted theologians insist must be considered if the donation of organs is to be carried out in a Christian manner, with full respect for the following:bodies and souls of both donor and recipient.
:''Such donations are acceptable if All parties should consider the deceased donor had willed such action, or if surviving relatives permit it providing that it was matter in prayer and in harmony consultation with their spiritual father. As the desires body and soul are one, both must be ministered to. While the power of reason and human effort should not be put aside in efforts to heal the sick, nor should the deceasedLord’s power to heal be forgotten. St. Such actions can be approved as an expression James says "Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of love the church, and if they express let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the self-determination prayer of faith will save the sick, and the donorLord will raise him up. In all casesAnd if he has committed sins, respect for he will be forgiven." (James 5:13-15 NKJ) This must be the body first of all considerations when contemplating the donor should be maintainedpossibility of organ donation.
Donation of an organ should always be an uncoerced act of love. To willingly give of one's life for God or neighbor is the ultimate expression of this love. "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends" (John 15:13 NKJ). This self-sacrificing Christian love for one''Organ transplants s neighbor should never be commercialized nor coerced nor take place without proper consentthe motivation for such a decision, nor place in jeopardy emulating the identity sacrifice of the donor or recipientChrist Himself. Therefore, such as a decision should never be made on the use basis of animal organs. Nor coercion, nor should the death of the donor it be hastened in order reduced to harvest organs a transaction of any kind (such as for transplantation to another personmoney).''
As FrSo that the giving and receiving of life through such a donation should always be an act of love, and so the body's sanctity be considered and respected, theologians note that the following factors are of vital importance when prayerfully considering such a procedure. Harakas implies* All other medical treatments should first be considered and attempted, such that a donation and transplant is a last resort remedy for the afflicted person. * Specific therapeutic goals, such as the prolonging or saving of the recipient's organs life should never be sold at any pricethe forefront, not medical experimentation or curiosity, or political and/or economic gain. * The benefits and risks should be taken into account and weighed carefully. No donor is morally obligated to give of himself when it may risk his or her life or wellbeing. At the same time, the quality of life of the recipient prior to and following the transplant must be taken into consideration with the risks and benefits. Organ donation and transplantation should only be done to improve the quality of life for the recipient. * Various national Orthodox synods differ on their stance on life-ending donation of one’s organs. For example, The body Church of Romania states that no donor may end his or her life to donate an organ (such as a heart), even if it is done to save another's life. To them, such an act is tantamount to suicide and is part unacceptable. However, The Church of Greece states strongly that a personlife-ending donation denotes an act of self-sacrificing love, citing "by this we know love, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren" (1 John 3:16 NKJ). This is sanctified through a perfect example of why the consultation of one’s spiritual father is essential in making such an important decision.* On the gift subject of transplantations of artificial organs, xenografts (processed animal organs), or cloned organs, again the [[Holy Spirit]] synods differ. and The Church of Greece has not yet established an official position on this subject, saying that more research must be done before the Church can voice Her opinion. The Church of Romania explicitly states that no transplant is permitted that changes or confuses the nature of the recipient. For example, animal parts such as pig heart valves transplanted into a temple human body would be unacceptable. The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America states clearly that no transplant should ever “place in jeopardy the identity of the Holy Spiritdonor or recipient, such as Frthe use of animal organs.” * Donation must be done with the rights of the patients and families in mind. Reardon states Willing and informed consent must be given by the donor and recipient, or by family members (see External links sectionwith legal rights)acting on behalf of a patient who is unable to give consent themselves. No one In such a case, the rights and wishes of the patients should sell off even part always be considered first, as well as their best interests both spiritually and physically. Interestingly, The Church of Greece notes that temple; an organ donation made with the consent of family members (when the donor should freely is unable to give consent), transfers the sacrificial virtue of donation to the consenting relatives. This is because the effect that love for a family member has can make such a decision to donate the body of a loved one even harder than donating one’s own body. * As organ donation must be done with express consent, the donation of cells or tissues from an embryo is unacceptable. An embryo is a living being, and is unable to give consent. Therefore, such a procedure should not be allowed.  Additionally, in the case of heart transplants and lung transplants, it should be noted that some Orthodox theologians and hierarchs have objected to save such transplants on the basis that the heart and lungs have deeper theological meaning for the body. As well, these transplants do not yet have a high rate of success, which should be considered as a human lifevalid moral criterion with reference to potential procedures. However While The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America has not issued a formal statement or official stance on matters such as this, it's only fair does offer some guidelines in the links found below. The Church of Greece, however, stresses the importance of the act of willing donation by the donor as an act of love which is far more important than the act of receiving by one in need of organs, stating, “The spiritual benefit of the donor is greater than the biological gain of the recipient to the same extent as the soul is superior to the body. ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ (Acts 20:35 NKJ)” The Church of Greece also emphasizes that the donor doctors involved should never incur any medical or related expenses perform such life saving acts with humility, seeing themselves as instruments of God, and that the recipient of such a result wonderful gift as an organ should see themselves as blessed by God, and receive humbly the gift that is being given to them, and realize that the greater act is the virtue of donation from the immortal soul of the donor, rather than the receipt of a body part for one’s biological, mortal body.  ==Pastoral Considerations and Concerns==While some believe that organ donationis a desecration of the temple of the Holy Spirit, others believe that it is a wonderful, self-sacrificial way of showing love for God and neighbor. Though there are differing perspectives on the matters within the Church as a whole, they are all united in emphasizing that, when weighing such a heavy decision, it is absolutely imperative to consult a spiritual father, and pray unceasingly on the matter. As Orthodox Christians, we are called to faith in Christ, who is the Physician of our souls. He has given us the gift of life, and the sanctity of that gift should always be at the forefront of the minds of doctors, patients, families, and spiritual fathers, when that gift of life and love is passed on through the free giving of an organ for the benefit of one's brother. "So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver" (2 Corinthians 9:7 NKJ).
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