St. Petersburg, November 29, 2023
On November 1, His Eminence Metropolitan Barsanuphius of St. Petersburg and Ladoga blessed the creation of an association of psychologist priests, aimed at coordinating the work of metropolitan clergy with psychological education and practice.
The association is under the auspices of the diocesan Commission on Family Issues and the Protection of Motherhood and Childhood.
Member priests will also exchange experience, study psychological techniques in terms of effectiveness and compliance with Orthodox Tradition and ethical standards, provide psychological assistance to clerics and their families, help families overcome crises, and improve the quality and effectiveness of pro-life activities, reports the St. Petersburg Metropolis.
The first meeting began with a moleben served by the chairman of the Commission on Family Issues, Archpriest Alexander Diagilev.
The meeting included a discussion on the boundaries of pastoral care and psychological counseling. The participants agreed that a priest-psychologist has more chances to reach a person from the point of view of the Gospel of Christ than a secular specialist, even a believer. It was proposed to organize thematic conferences and invite not only priests or psychologists, but also other specialists in order to study some controversial and ambiguous topics of Orthodox anthropology and the role of psychology in the life of a person, a Christian, and a priest.