In Athens, July 16/29, 2013
Protocol n. γ-1776
Communiqué on Organ Transplantation and Donation
To all the Clergy and Laity throughout the Nation
Beloved children of the Church of Christ,
The Holy Synod of the Church of the Genuine Orthodox Christians during its session on June 7/20 2013, having investigated assiduously the question of “brain death,” organ transplantation, and “presumed consent,” ruled the following:
1. “Brain death” is an arbitrary term. Death is the definitive cessation of cardiopulmonary function. What is called “brain death” is in essence a condition of grave illness. The harvesting of vital organs from a gravely ill patient accelerates his death and, from an ethical point of view, is murder.
2. Therefore, the extirpation of vital organs for the purpose of transplantation is forbidden. Only the extirpation and transplantation of non-vital organs is permitted, provided that such extirpation will not cause the death of the donor (i.e. the donation of one kidney).
3. What is called “presumed consent” (i.e. the automatic presumption that all are organ donors, with the exception of declared non-donors ) is deemed ethically unacceptable as well. Since, however, such a law has been legislatively approved, all the Faithful are called to declare themselves non-donors according to the attached example , of which the Parish Councils are instructed to provide copies to be distributed at each parish’s candle desk. Please note that a deadline has not been placed for such declarations.
To inform the flock, the Holy Synod has decided to organize two theological conferences on the matter at hand in Athens and Larisa, on September 10/23 2013 and September 18/October 1, 2013 respectively. The locations will be announced.
At the command of the Holy Synod
+PHOTIOS of Marathon
Chief-Secretary of the Synod