Metropolitan Luke: the Church asks Holy doctors to help in the fight against the virus

Metropolitan Luke: the Church asks Holy doctors to help in the fight against the virus
Metropolitan Luke of Zaporozhye and Melitopol (Kovalenko), who suggested that the Church consider the issue of canonization of the famous surgeon Nikolai Pirogov (1810-1881), told RIA Novosti in an exclusive interview about this initiative and its prospects. Interviewed By Sergey Stefanov.- Vladyka, what exactly prompted you to take the initiative to canonize the surgeon Nikolai Pirogov? Was there, perhaps, a specific reason? - When I first read the spiritual reflections in the diary of Nikolai Ivanovich, I was amazed, I had the idea that it was written by a Saint. I have another observation. During one of his visits to Vinnytsia, his Beatitude Metropolitan Vladimir (Sabodan) asked the then administrator of the diocese, Metropolitan Simeon (now deviated into the schism, the so-called "ptsu") what he thought about the canonization of Pirogov. But his Beatitude did not receive a clear answer to his question. Perhaps the Lord did not want to show his servant through an unworthy servant... That was a long time ago. But then I thought about it again. By the will of God, quite recently, I communicated with my fellow Bishop, who also had the idea of the possibility of beatification of Nikolai Pirogov to the face of saints. Everything that is happening today in the world around coronovirus infection, made us think about the nature of this phenomenon and especially appeal to our heavenly patrons. We intuitively turn to those saints who in the earthly life were engaged in the treatment of people. - As for the medical work of Nikolai Pirogov, it is well known and recognized by everyone. And how much is known about his life as an Orthodox Christian, about the manifestations of his faith, is everything studied here? Can we call him an ascetic of faith, a Righteous man with a capital letter?- I will answer with the words of the gospel: "by their fruits you will know them" (MT. 7: 16). We know the life of Nikolai Ivanovich, his medical work. But also important are his thoughts about faith, about life, about God. Returning to the theological reflections that we find in Professor Pirogov, they lead us to the question of his canonization. From his notes, we can see how deep the man's faith was. But I want to note right away that faith is not measured by the number of bows or the amount of hours spent at the service. There is no such device that can determine how much grace there is in a person. The presence of the grace of the Holy spirit in a person is manifested in his life. If you live with God and are in him, then your life will bear witness to this. "So that your light may be enlightened before men, that your good works may be seen, and that they may glorify your Father who is in heaven" (Matthew 5:16), we read in the gospel of Matthew.  We do not know how often Nikolai Ivanovich received the sacrament of Communion or how many bows he made, but his life testifies to us that he was filled with the grace of the Holy spirit. In this particular case, I would like to emphasize that we only study and collect facts. But even now we can say that Nikolai Pirogov perceived himself only as an instrument in the hands of God, which showed great humility. The man who was hailed as a great doctor did not consider his work a personal achievement, but thanked God for allowing him to touch the knowledge that helps preserve life. - How do you see the common life path of the surgeon Pirogov and the already canonized Saint-surgeon Luke (Voino-Yasenetsky)? In General, do they have a lot in common, or are they still different personalities and different paths, although to the same final point of the route-to God?- To go through the Russian-Turkish war, not to break down, to help people, to save their lives, despite various obstacles, in a constant battle with death, requires incredible human effort. But the special grace of God is also necessary. This we see in the image of Nikolai Ivanovich Pirogov. As for the common ways of the saints of God, we know that both of them were surgeons and loved anatomy. Both saved the lives of the wounded on the battlefields. At the same time, we must understand that the environment leaves its imprint and forms a person. Nikolai Ivanovich lived and worked during the tsarist regime, and Saint Luke - during the Soviet era. Both of these remarkable people, one of whom is already glorified, came to God each in their own way, but, what is very important, equally observing the commandment of Christ: "love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind, this is the first and greatest commandment; the second is similar to it: love your neighbor as yourself" (MT. 22: 37-39). For us, this is a common denominator that unites Saint Luke and Nicholas Pirogov. - As far as I understand, you offered to canonize Mykola Pirogov within the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. What are the mandatory criteria for canonization in the UOC today, and how many of them are there? In addition to a righteous life, is it necessary to have a wide popular veneration of a person, some miracles? Do the factors concerning Pirogov's surgeon meet all the established criteria?- Important criteria in the process of canonization are the righteousness of life, miracles performed on the conversion to the canonized Saint, and popular veneration. In this particular case, we can safely say that Professor Pirogov is deeply revered in the medical community. His name is world-famous as a great doctor, but it is no less important that he is known as a man of faith. But it is also necessary to inform people, to tell people about his righteous life. As for miracles, today, I think, we need to announce the collection of information from people who can share their real experience of perception of miracles performed at the request of Nikolai Ivanovich (on his assumption). On my own behalf, as a doctor, I want to say about the miracle performed during the life of Professor Pirogov – his methods of surgical interventions and techniques, thanks to which lives are saved to this day. Life is a gift of God, and today, thanks to the medical heritage of the scientist, this gift can be preserved.Looking at the works and exploits of the saints, we praise God, who gives such a special grace. I would also like to note that our appeal to the saints is God - centered: when we pray to our saints and ask for their help, we turn to God himself through them. On all His Holy will. I think that when we announce the collection of information about miracles, there will be people who will share their life stories, and we will be able to do on earth what is already in Heaven. - Did you somehow coordinate your initiative with the canonization Commission and other high-ranking representatives of the UOC? Are there many supporters of this idea among the clergy, what opinions are there? Among the common people?- I did not coordinate this initiative with anyone, since it should formally come from the Bishop of the Vinnytsia diocese, and not from me. At the same time, I would like to say that since I myself am a member of the Synodal Commission for the canonization of the UOC, my Eminence Metropolitan Varsonofy, the administrator of the Vinnytsia diocese, will have support for the glorification of Nikolai Pirogov.As for whether there are many supporters of this idea, I can not say, since this issue has not yet been studied. In my opinion, thanks to you, the media, and your messages, we will be able to find out the opinion of the people. - In your opinion, what are the prospects for this idea in General? How long can it take for the Church to review it and make a final decision?"Everything is in the hands of God. Canonization is a human testimony and acceptance in the face of a Saint, but not a judgment that decides whether a believer should be a Saint or not. This year, on June 14, we celebrated the Cathedral Of all saints. This is a time to think about how many saints have been revealed to the world, and how many have not yet been revealed. I can't answer that question. I can't say whether the process of canonization will be fast or slow, I don't know its outcome, because everything is in the power of God. I trust only in His great mercy.
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