Moscow, April 27, 2017
Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Patras has sent an open letter to the Greek Minister of Health Andreas Xanthos, expressing his disagreement with the renaming of St. Andrew’s Hospital in Patras, reports AgionOros.
“With great disbelief the residents of Patras have seen the new signboard on St. Andrew’s Hospital, which now bears the name ‘Patras General Hospital,’” he stated. Patras is Greece's third-largest city and the regional capital of Western Greece, in the northern Peloponnese, 135 miles west of Athens.
“The name ‘St. Andrew’ has been inextricably linked with the healthcare since its foundation, and it is known under that name throughout all of Greece,” the bishop emphasized in his epistle.
Not only is St. Andrew connected with the hospital, but with the very city and history of Patras itself. “As you know,” Met. Chrysostomos writes, “the holy apostle Andrew the First-Called is the founder of the Church in Patras and the patron of our city. Our city is inseparably linked with his name. The apostle Andrew is the breath and life of Patras (He taught and worked miracles here. Patras is the place of his burial, his precious head, and his cross, on which he suffered martyrdom).”
In short, to change the name of the hospital is to deny the city’s history itself.
“In this regard, we believe the hospital should be returned to its historical name. This decision will correct this injustice and greatly delight the residents of our city,” the prelate insisted.
Met. Chrysostomos also spoke out last year on the state's decision to open a crematorium in Patras, saying:
“God created man in His own image, as a psychosomatic unity. The union between the soul and the body is holy, and it is no coincidence that Apostle Paul calls our body ‘a temple of the Holy Spirit’…
“When separated from the soul, the body does not become a corpse, as is the case with dumb animals, but it becomes ‘relics.’
“Cremation of the dead demonstrates nihilism, while burial shows respect for the personality of the deceased…
“In the end, cremation of human bodies is a sign of lack of faith in resurrection.”