OCAMPR: Greatest Threats to Our Health

OCAMPR: Greatest Threats to Our Health

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The Orthodox Christian Association of Medicine, Psychology, and Religion (OCAMPR) is an organization endorsed by the Assembly of Bishops that provides sustenance, dialogue, and growth for Orthodox Christians in professions that minister to the health of their fellow human beings. OCAMPR stresses the symbiotic relationship between incarnational, kenotic theology and healing of the person. This association hosted their annual conference from November 5-7 at Hellenic College Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology. The conference theme was: “Caregivers as Confessors and Healers.”

On November 6th, the Rev. Dr. Vasileios Thermos, a psychiatrist and a priest in the Church of Greece, presented a talk entitled: “The Mission of the Health Care Worker in a Culture Hostile to Health.”

Fr. Thermos explained, how despite all of our Western advances, we have not experienced a drop in the rate of health issues. For example, rates of mental disorders are consistently seen as highest in western capitalist countries such as the United States.

He stated that humans are becoming the greatest enemies to our own health because we have created institutions, technologies, and societal norms that detract from our lives. Stress, environmental pollution, nutritional toxicity, medically induced disorders, and war, he said, are a few of many factors contributing to the decay of health in the West.

Another factor Fr. Thermos mentioned was the fact that we have become a “spectacle society,” that is a society where we are absorbed into all forms of media that draw our attention away from the real world. He profoundly described the impact of this environment by saying that we have lost the ability to find beauty and meaning in reality.

This reveals the deep spiritual scars we all bear because of immersion in technology. It drags us away from genuine interactions with those around. Media productions distort our image of romance, intimacy, excitement, our bodies, etc. We have created a society that encourages people to become dependent on a false reality. Spiritual scars as deep as these often manifest themselves in social and mental disorders.

The world needs doctors who are concerned about the holistic health of the individual and invested in the restoration of the patient to their human dignity through love and healing.

 

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Kamal Hourani

Kamal Hourani is a first year student in the Religious Studies Program at Hellenic College Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline, Massachusetts. He is also a participant of our Digital Disciples Program.