Moscow, June 8, 2015
Priest Daniel Goryachev, head of the Committee for Family, Motherhood and Childhood Affairs at the Arkhangelsk Diocese, Russia, has proposed an amendment to legislation in the area of burial of stillborn children.
He made this statement during the forum, “Strengthening and protection of family – in the heart of the state policy”, which was held at the Russian Federation’s Civic Chamber, reports the Arkhangelsk Diocese’s press service.
“Even if abortions are finally outlawed, the public conscience should be prepared for it. Otherwise such laws will be ineffective. People should have a particular culture of perception of life, which is formed through religion,” related Fr. Daniel his speech during the round table, dedicated to protection of life on early stages of pregnancy, held at the Civic Chamber. “Serving in an Arkhangelsk maternity home, I come across the following situation: When a woman gives birth to a stillborn baby, she is not given her baby and cannot see it. I have proposed to amend the legislation so that bodies of stillborn babies might be given to their mothers at their request, regardless of the stage of pregnancy”.
The priest reminded the conference participants about an event that happened three years ago, when barrels with remains of over 200 infants had been found near Yekaterinburg. “At that moment I was shocked by the official statements in which the remains were constantly called medical waste’,” the clergyman stressed. “It is necessary to allow mothers to bid farewell to their stillborn babies so that society might begin to understand this fact—mothers bear living human beings in their wombs. Besides, it is very important because it will help mothers cope with their grief. This is what St. Gregory of Nyssa says about infants’ early deaths: ‘Whereas the innocent babe has no such plague before its soul's eyes obscuring its measure of light, and so it continues to exist in that natural life; it does not need the soundness which comes from purgation, because it never admitted the plague into its soul at all.’
“The state appropriates what does not belong to it – bodies of the dead belong to their relatives. I think it is significant that parents must have a chance to say goodbye to their stillborn babies.”
Fr. Daniel has also participated in the work of a conference dedicated to improvement of the legislation in the sphere of family law.
The forum, “Strengthening and protection of family – in the heart of the state policy”, was arranged on the Organizations for Defense of Family Association’s initiative; the latter is actively cooperating with the Patriarchal Committee for Family, Motherhood and Childhood Affairs. The conference was dedicated to the issues of cooperation of the state, pro-family public organizations in the field of demography, strengthening of family integrity, preservation of its values. Proposals of state support of family, protection of motherhood and childhood were put forward at the end of the forum. They will be submitted to the Russian Federation’s President.