Moscow, June 1, 2021
Life must be protected by law from the moment of conception, and it is inadmissible to kill embryos, even for scientific and medical purposes, a new document adopted by the Russian Church’s Inter-Council Presence affirms.
Meeting at Christ the Savior Cathedral under the chairmanship of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill last week, the Inter-Council Presence adopted the document “On the Inviolability of Human Life from the Moment of Conception” following a thorough discussion by the Inter-Council Presence—a body of hierarchical, clerical, and lay representatives of the Church tasked with the discussion of issues raised at sessions of the Local Council of the Russian Church.
The document will then be considered by the Russian Bishops’ Council, tentatively scheduled to be held in November. It was prepared by the Inter-Council Presence’s theological committee and submitted to Church-wide discussion in 2017, reports RIA-Novosti.
“As the title of the document suggests, the Church raises the question before society and the state about the need to protect human life from the moment of conception to birth, because this area remains legally unregulated. At the same time, it speaks of the inadmissibility of killing embryos for any purpose. Society should do everything to preserve conceived life and let it come into the world,” commented Archimandrite Philip (Ryabikh), representative of the Moscow Patriarchate to the European Council.
“This document is an invitation to society to discuss how we define a person’s life before birth, how it can be protected, what rights it can have,” Fr. Philip added.
“Technology is evolving. And the practice of using abortive material for scientific purposes, medicine, cosmetology is increasingly spreading, and entire industries are being created in this area. From the position of the Church, taking the life of one human being, even for the sake of treating other people, is unacceptable. Can we allow one person to be killed in order to save another? This is, of course, a rhetorical question,” the member of the Inter-Council Presence said.
We must look for alternative ways of developing medicine and science that exclude the killing of human beings, Fr. Philip emphasized.
His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk spoke on the subject on the recent episode of the Church and the World, saying: “We recognize the same rights for the embryo as for the born person; we insist that the concept of human rights should also apply to embryos. Accordingly, we consider it unacceptable to manipulate embryos, we consider it unacceptable to use embryos as biomaterial. We believe that the life of the human fetus should be legally protected. And our task is to give the opportunity to be born to those who have every right to be born.”