We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to browse this repository, you give consent for essential cookies to be used. You can read more about our Privacy and Cookie Policy.

Durham e-Theses
You are in:

The orthodox patristic teaching on the human embryo and the ethical repercussions on abortion and related issues

Televantos, FR Anastasios (1998) The orthodox patristic teaching on the human embryo and the ethical repercussions on abortion and related issues. Masters thesis, Durham University.



Abortion and related issues have caused a conflict between Medical progress and Religious ethics. Historically, the life of the embryo was subordinated to the interest of the State in ancient Greece and of the father in ancient Rome (even though the Hippocratic oath was against abortion). It was Christianity that gave the foetus a high, independent, moral value. Science has proved that new, human, biological life starts at conception. Biblical, Anthropological evidence suggests that life is something sacred, for which God has an early interest. Iconography and Liturgical hymnology provide evidence that human, ensouled life starts at conception. The Holy Canons are strongly anti-abortion and strict not only towards women who perform abortion, but also towards anybody who helped them. Patristic writings themselves (notably St. Maximus the Confessor) emphasize that the body and soul are coeval at conception and that on Incarnation, Deity partook both body and soul simultaneously, at conception. The holy fathers were not always trying to fight abortion in their writings, but nevertheless an indirect negative stance may be extrapolated. This trend is followed by most modern Orthodox and Catholic moralists (Protestants to a lesser extent). Non-Christian religious ethics generally condemn abortion - but often for different reasons, derived from their faith teaching. There seem to be adverse psychological repercussions on the mother following abortion, while legalization on the issue follows the social trend and is therefore often in contradiction with the official teaching of the Church. Finally, the need for a proper pastoral approach is emphasized, as the decision to abort is often induced by existing personal/social pressures, and also because the advent of biotechnology seems to challenge the anti-abortion teaching of the Orthodox Church, despite its promises to solve problems associated with human reproduction.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Thesis Date:1998
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:13 Sep 2012 15:56

Social bookmarking: del.icio.usConnoteaBibSonomyCiteULikeFacebookTwitter