Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Wisdom from the Desert and the Fathers

He who asks to receive his daily bread does not automatically receive it in its fullness as it is in itself: he receives it according to his own capacity as recipient.
St. Maximos the Confessor

…alas for the soul that is unaware of its wounds and that in its endless sinfulness and obduracy does not think it has anything evil within it: the good doctor will not visit it or heal it, since it does not seek Him out or have any concern for its wounds, because it thinks it is well and in good health. As the Lord said: 'It is not the healthy that need a doctor, but the sick' (Mt. 9:12).
 St. Makarios of Egypt

…if you are not what you should be, you should not despair. It is bad enough that you have sinned; why in addition do you wrong God by regarding Him in your ignorance as powerless? Is He, Who for your sake created the great universe that you behold, incapable of saving your soul? And if you say that this fact, as well as His incarnation, only makes your condemnation worse, then repent; and He will receive your repentance...
St. Peter of Damaskos

With regard to patience the Lord says, 'You will gain possession of your souls through your patient endurance' (Luke 21:19). He did not say 'through your fasting' or 'through your vigils'. I refer to the patience bestowed by God, which is the queen of virtues, the foundation of courageous actions. It is patience that is peace amid strife, serenity amid distress, and a steadfast base for those who acquire it. Once you have attained it with the help of Christ Jesus, no swords and spears, no attacking armies, not even the ranks of demons, the dark phalanx of hostile powers, will be able to do you any harm.
St. Gregory of Sinai

…from the instant we are baptized, grace is hidden in the depths of the intellect, concealing its presence even from the perception of the intellect itself. When someone begins, however, to love God with full resolve, then in a mysterious way, by means of intellectual perception, grace communicates something of its riches to the soul. Then, if he really wants to hold fast to this discovery, he joyfully starts longing to be rid of all his temporal goods, so as to acquire the field in which he has found the hidden treasure of life (cf. Mt. 13:44). This is because, when someone rids himself of all worldly riches, he discovers the place where the grace of God is hidden. For as the soul advances, divine grace more and more reveals itself to the intellect.
St. Diadochos of Photiki

For Holy Communion, the confession of our sins to a father confessor is needed; whereas for our communication with God, the confession of our weaknesses before Him is necessary. When we pray with pain for our fellow men, then our kind God abundantly gives us His grace. When someone celebrates his name day, wish him thus: May you live many years which will be pleasing to God.
 Elder Paisios of the Holy Mountain

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Words from Fr Daniil the Martyr

I found the following profound words by "Fr Daniil Sysoyev, rector of the parish of the Holy Apostle Thomas in Kantemirovskaya, Candidate of Theology (a Kandidat (Candidate) degree is equivalent to a PhD, somewhat more rigorous: editor’s note)" reported last year on the Voices from Russia Web Log. The context was a series of quotations by particpants at a Conference in Moscow.

I think that one of the most important problems facing the Orthodox Church in Russia, and even beyond its borders, is the ideological rigor mortis of the Church. The Church is considered as a kind of dead body, it is thought to be frozen. According to some, nothing should be changed in it. It is understandable that we should not change dogmatics and Church Tradition, no one argues with that. However, the problem is that people try to preserve superstitions and false ideology, and, what is worse, they try to hang on to bad remnants of the Soviet period. I have travelled throughout the canonical territory of the MP, and I see one and the same picture everywhere. People do not know God, they think that their salvation is complete; and all of their time is taken with completely-unimportant matters such as the minutiae of this-or-that rite, the details of this-or-that church policy, or one regional view or another.

In my opinion, it is an enormous misfortune that people have lost their consciousness of Christianity. People have forgotten about the fact that we are, first of all, Christians, the children of God the Father, and that we must go to Christ for holiness and salvation. As a part of this, one sees a controversy over the frequent reception of Holy Communion, which connects us with the Lord. Some people do not consider Communion to be as important as it is to act in such a way as to “earn” one’s salvation. However, they do not realise that this is the heresy of Pelagius, that one can earn one’s salvation by one’s own efforts.

In other words, the standard of church life that they expound is sinful, pure and simple; it is a distortion of the real Church Tradition. For instance, one hears that Russians, because they are Russian, are already Orthodox. In one article that I read, I saw the assertion that even atheists are truly Orthodox, if they are a part of the Russian culture. This is nothing less than the displacing of faith with culture. Orthodoxy is God’s revelation, preserved for us in all purity from the times of the Apostles. One now sees efforts by some to replace the New Testament with national myths, including old ones that the Church has always fought against. They propagate heathen fables about the “mothers of the black soil” instead of seeing Christ as the basis of all culture.

Paganism often disguises itself in the Church under the mask of Christianity, and it is hidden under a fa├žade of pietism rather than in overt exterior manifestations. People forget that their goal is to reach sanctity. Some of them believe it is a sin even to think of such a possibility, that they could reach sanctity, even though it is the fulfilment of a direct commandment of the Lord. We should spare no effort to overcome this problem. To overcome this, we must issue a new call for the people to return to holiness. For this, it is necessary for us to revive catechesis throughout the entire Church. Even those who are already baptised should study the faith. People must know in Whom they believe, in what they should do in order to approach Him. People coming to church see it as an assembly-line of spiritual services. They are not offered any spiritual growth; therefore, they go to the sectarians.

People think, in error, that the sects are easier than the Orthodox. Recently, I had a chance to associate with Pentecostals. I learned that it is their practise to pray five hours during the day. What Orthodox Christian prays for five hours a day? Sectarianism is the consequence of the Church not informing people of the commandments of the Lord, commandments that our Lord Christ expects us to fulfil. The Gospel is seen as nothing but a collection of pious sayings; it is not seen as a means of real contact with God. We so fear being seduced by the world that we end by doing nothing. This is a terrible spiritual problem. If we do not overcome it, very many Christians shall be ruined. It is an ideology of rigor mortis. It is not conservatism; rather, it is the murder of the Church.
Voices of Russia also has a biography entry on the martyred priest.

Below is one of several You Tube videos of Batushka Daniil noted from the Moscow Times report of his death.

Here is the You Tube Channel with what is said to be Fr Daniil's final sermon.

May his memory be eternal.

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Manhattan Declaration

Manhattan Declaration -

You can also read, download it and find out more about it here.

One Year Ago Today

One year ago today my life changed irrevocably.

On 20 November 2008, my wife Presbytera Karen was diagnosed with a tumor. A year earlier she had quit her job to look after her father (in-laws live with us, or we with them; however you wish to cast it) who was suffering the final stages of Alzheimer's Disease. As it turned out, he died within a week of her leaving work, and so she continued to be at home looking after her mother, who is wheel-chair bound due to a stroke and broken hip.

Over the course of the year, Presbytera's mood and character began to change - to deteriorate, one might say. She became easily frustrated, often-distracted, and lost her balance on occasion. Naturally enough, we attributed all of this to the stress of leaving work and the loss of her father, both major stressors in life. She also began to lose weight. We attributed this to her being more active, her job having tied her to a desk for most of the day, and she now being free to move about, take up projects around the house, etc..

However, by the end of the summer things began to become ominous. Her moods were becoming extreme and common tasks that she had performed effortlessly for years now seemed difficult or impossible for her. There were times when she suddenly seemed lost in thought and removed from things going on around her. She also began to complain of headaches. She confided to me that she thought she was developing an early case of Alzheimer's Disease, which thought I attributed to depression. But the moments of confusion and headaches concerned us all.

By late September, early October her loss of balance and continency issues worried us. Presbytera had never been one to easily be convinced to go to the doctor. But we all persisted. The first visit led to the assumption that she had a severe sinus infection - she had focused only on the headaches with the doctor - and the usual prescriptions. However, after a couple of more visits things were only getting worse.

Her depression had become alarming. She spoke occasionally about killing herself. Then one day she walked up to the local grocery (just a block or so) and got lost on the way home. The scary part was that she apparently spent some time wandering along the railroad track that passes near our house. She later told me she remembered losing her balance and lying on the tracks for awhile.

It was now November.

I demanded that she go to the doctor and tell him all of her symptoms. To ensure she did so, I threatened to go along and/or make my own appointment to tell the doctor what we had all observed. She agreed to go.

The first attempt at an appointment went awry when she couldn't find the doctor's office. This office was near us and she was quite familiar with its location. I foolishly thought she was trying to get out of the appointment (sometimes, the human capacity - especially this human - to avoid seeing the obvious is monumental). She found her way home eventually and I had her appointment rescheduled.

That appointment was on 18 November. She made it to the doctor's office without much trouble.

While I was not present at that appointment, her report of it worried me beyond measure. It seemed the doctor couldn't understand what she was talking about and was both startled and extremely concerned. The doctor's office called me and related that Presbytera was very confused and hardly able to make a coherent sentence. The doctor ordered a CAT scan for two days later, Thursday, 20 November. The scan would be performed at an office next door to his office and she would have another appointment with him to review the results the following week. He would be out of town the remainder of that week. I assured Presbytera that I would go with her for the CAT scan as she was now very worried herself.

So it was that 20 November became one of those days the reality of whose impact was nearly incomprehensible for us all. We arrived at the lab facility and she was called for the CAT scan. I went outside and made a few phone calls. When she came out she told me the technicians had asked her to wait a few minutes and returned to tell her she needed to go immediately to the doctor's office.

Thus, we walked next door and were soon admitted to one of our doctor's associates' office. I remember he was compassionate and straightforward. Karen had a tumor in her brain. He strongly guessed that it was a "primary tumor" - it wasn't long before we knew what that then nebulous distinction meant. Just to be certain, because Karen was a smoker, he wanted her to go back next door for a CAT scan of her lungs. This would clarify the likelihood of whether the tumor was primary or secondary.

I remember that while she was having the second CAT scan, I called my spiritual father and a colleague and told them what I knew. I think I also called my father, but I can't really recall that clearly now.

The second CAT scan showed clear lungs; the tumor was of the primary variety. The doctor began to ask us whether we had preference for a neurologist and for the first time mentioned "oncologist". Even though I had heard, understood (at some level) and begun to react to all that was unfolding, the word "oncologist" moved me into a sort of shock. He was telling us my beloved Presbytera had cancer. I stumbled around that I saw a neurologist for my back problems and he was part of a good team. The doctor told us he would call for us to see someone from that team and begin arrangements for her to be admitted to the hospital. When he stated blankly that she would be admitted to the hospital no later than the next day the shock deepened. He told us to go home and await a phone call.

When we got home, I had to tell Mom (Karen's mother) what the news was. I sometimes go into what I call "professional mode" - a kind of state of consciousness in which I disengage from personal feelings to deal with a situation. I suspect all priests, ministers, firefighters, police officers and soldiers all experience similar shifts of consciousness. With Presbytera's halting assistance, I filled Mom in on what we had discovered. I recall urging us all to await the assessment of the neurologist, who could give us better information and detail; and perhaps even counter the generalist's alarmist diagnosis.

A phone call directly from my neurologist was the next shock. My neurologist told me he had reviewed the CAT scan and that Karen definitely needed to be taken to a hospital. His team's brain specialist was out of town and he highly recommended the team at Charleston's MUSC hospital. He had already spoken with the head of the department and they would be calling us shortly.

By now Presbytera was exhausted - for a couple of months periods of exhaustion were common with her - and she went upstairs to take a nap. I noted that our daughter would soon be home from school and realized she had to be told what was going on. In retrospect, I find all my attempted cool, logical reflections that day ironic as I kept thinking both this was horrible and also surely some big mistake.

Someone from MUSC called and in discussing admitting Presbytera I noted that our daughter would soon be home. I thought it would be better to tell her what was happening with her mother there, so she could see her and not imagine worse circumstances than reality. She would see her mother and not panic at the thought of her going to the hospital the next day. The nurse, I presume it was a nurse, now I don't really remember, hesitated but said she'd call me back in an hour or so.

Our daughter came home. By then Presbytera was up from her nap. I told her what we had discovered about her mother's condition, answered as many of her questions as I could and allowed her some time to adjust to the news. She offered to help her mother pack for the hospital, since by this point Karen seemed incapable of judging what would need to be packed. So Presbytera went to take another nap and our daughter began to pack her things.

The second call from the hospital confused me greatly. They asked whether Presbytera wanted something or had experienced something - I don't remember - but when I said she was napping and I would go ask her there was what I can only describe as controlled panic on the other end of the line. They told me they'd call me back in two minutes while I went to ask Karen.

The next call was alarming because of their desperation and because I still didn't comprehend the situation and the danger Presbytera was facing. They wanted us to take her to the emergency room immediately with the understanding that she would be admitted as soon as possible. They repeatedly emphasized that it was urgent that we get her to the emergency room as soon as possible. I didn't understand it; but I told Karen, our daughter and Mom the updated plan.

Our daughter asked if she could come with us to the hospital. Given that Karen was often more confused and moodier in the evening in those days, I agreed to this although I didn't like leaving Mom home alone in these circumstances. We began to put our 'plan' into action.

We arrived at the hospital, managed to get Karen into the emergency room (we had to park in the regular lot and walk - no one had told the ER people there was any special concern, which was probably good for our nerves at that point). After the irritating check in procedure, de rigour in US hospitals, we were ultimately directed to a small area and a bed for her. By now, I was becoming frustrated. I was confused and heading for a testosterone-motivated demand to know what was coming off here! (Funny, how when men desperately need to let out an emotion frustrated anger seems to be the prime choice.)

Then one of the doctors came to us. He was a neurologist and had reviewed the CAT scan. He patiently explained that the growth of the tumor was putting increasing pressure on Karen's brain. Surgery was needed as soon as possible. He had already ordered an MRI (the first of what became many over the last year), and they would operate the next day, probably in the morning. While tests after the surgery would be definitive, he felt certain she had either a Grade III or Grade IV Gioblastoma - another word we would become much familiar with in the weeks ahead.

He suggested that our daughter and I go home and I return the next day. He started to tell me that before the surgery she would be roomed in the Neurological Ward but paused and said, no, she would be in an ICU ward on the same floor as the surgical suite. Of course, this didn't make sense to me one way or the other but I took in the information as I began plan out the next day.

The next day was, obviously, 21 November, and we had planned Orthros and the Divine Liturgy for the Feast of the Entrance of the Theotokos. Somewhere along the way I had made the calls to let everyone know that this had to be cancelled. And so it was that on Friday, 21 November 2008, I hurried to the hospital, spend an exhausting day waiting for them to take her to the operating room, wondering why they seemed to be purposefully dehydrating her - to reduce pressure on the brain? - and reading psalms and prayers to Presbytera along with giving her Holy Anointing.

The rest, as they say, is history. The tumor was determined to be a Gioblastoma IV. There would be recovery from the surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, counseling and a life changed beyond anything Presbytera and I could ever have expected. As readers of this blog know, by 4 July 2009 she was gone.

I'm not sure; no, scratch that - I am quite certain that through the whole ordeal I never fully comprehended the finality of what was happening to Karen. We talked, we cried, we argued, we laughed, we prayed, and throughout it all the "GBM IV" slowly continued its deadly progress. As each day passed she suffered more, we seemed to lose a little bit more of her; and for my part, I was always about two days behind understanding what was happening to her on any given day.

We never get over losing someone we love. At best we become accustomed to that void where our loved one was. My faith is firm that she rests in the bosom of Abraham. Yet I haven't "processed" it all yet; perhaps I never will.

In some ways, she is still with me; she is in my dreams every night, and every day my mind drifts to thoughts of her or curiosity as to how she'd react or what she'd say to some passing facet of the day.

All I can do is await the Day of Resurrection.

She was the love of my life and the Holy Trinity gave us twenty beautiful years and an equally beautiful daughter.

Thanks be to God.

I'm not really one to give advice, but I truly and seriously advise everyone: Love those around you now, and let no moment pass without cherishing those who love you; none of us know how much time together we have.

A Newly Martyred Priest

The Following two reports are from Interfax

First, this report...
2009-11-20 13:41:00

Famous Orthodox priest killed in Moscow

Moscow, November 20, Interfax – The famous priest Daniil Sysoyev, the rector of the St. Thomas Cathedral, has been killed in Moscow, a source in law enforcement agencies told Interfax.

The priest received gunshot wounds to the head and chest, his assistant Vladimir Strelbitsky was wounded in the chest, he said.

"I do not recall a priest being killed in Moscow, let alone shot at by an assault rifle," the source told.

The priest died on the surgical table at 0:15 a.m. Moscow time, a source in medical circles said. His aide is in very critical condition.

A criminal case has been launched over the priest's murder.
And this follow up....

2009-11-20 13:57:00

Moscow priest could have been killed by extremists, pagans – sources

Moscow, November 20, Interfax - Moscow priest Daniil Sysoyev most likely has been killed for his missionary activity among the non-Orthodox Russian population, a source at law enforcement agencies told Interfax.

"He had recently received constant death threats from some extremist organizations. Daniil Sysoyev complained about it several times to the Federal Security Service," the source said.

Fr. Daniil said he received anonymous phone calls and e-mails promising to "have his guts for garters," he said.

"Sysoyev received the last threat in early October. Someone called him and said he had been sentenced to a death penalty," the source said.

Rev. Daniil is known as an experienced theologian who had been in constant dispute with the extremist branches of Islam. He began receiving threats four years ago after holding a public debate with Vyacheslav Polosin, the former Orthodox priest who converted to Islam.

Fr. Daniil might also have been killed by members from the so-called sect of Rodnovers (Slavic Neo-pagans), the source told Interfax.

Investigators are following all lines of inquiry but this theory remains the main one, he said.

This is evidenced by the fact that the perpetrator did not leave the weapon at the crime scene, he said. "Rodnovers are not professional killers, which is why they count every barrel," he said.

The Rodnovers organization mainly consists of young pagans.

Earlier Rodnovers staged an explosion at one of Moscow's churches.
As horrible as this incident is, it causes me to wonder if I have ever proclaimed the Faith so clearly, so powerfully, with such dedication, grace and Love that I even seemed dangerous to the pagans and other non-Christians around me. I fear that the demons have found little of interest in me due to my own sinfulness and self-condemnatory life - they needn't bother.

Shame on me.

And as for Father Daniil, may his memory be eternal!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Wisdom from the Desert Fathers

From The Ergetinos: A Complete Text

Hypothesis XXIX
From St Maximos

They say that God allows the demons to make war on us for five reasons: the first, they say, is so that we may distinguish between virtue and vice by making war and being warred against; secondly, so that we may acquire virtue by warfare and toil, and possess it sure and steadfast; thirdly, so that we may not think highly of ourselves when we make progress in virtue, but may learn to be humble; fourthly, so that we may completely hate vice, after we have experienced it; and finally, apart from all of these, the fifth reason is so that we may not forget our frailty or the power of God which helped us to attain to passionlessness.

The First Book, p. 250

Hypothesis XXX
From the Gerontikon

St Synkletike said: "The better athletes become, the stronger are the adversaries against whom they contend."

The First Book, p. 255

Theosis - the Answer to "What is Life?"

Hat Tip to Orrologion for pointing to a true spiritual treasure, the concise and wonderfully precise little book entitled "Theosis: The True Purpose of Human Life" by Archimandrite George, Abbot of the Holy Monastery of St. Gregorios, Mount Athos.

Note that the Orthodox Christian Information Center is a great source for very traditional Orthodox Christian teaching on a variety of subjects. While decidedly anti-Catholic, there is much on the site that is supremely beneficial to all Eastern Christians - witness the very book in question.

Stop reading this and go read what Achrimandrite George has to say; you'll be blessed that you did!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Mariza, Zorba and Dad

"A man needs a little madness, or else he never dares cut the rope and be free."

Friday, November 13, 2009

European Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholics Unite ... on Crucifix Ban

This from the BBC. A few snippets follow:

Although the Greek Orthodox Church has been at odds with Roman Catholicism for 1,000 years, the judicial threat to Christian symbols has acted as a unifying force.

The Greek Church has ostensibly [italics added by the Rambler] intervened in this case in response to an appeal by a Greek mother whose son is studying in Italy.

Helsinki Monitor is urging trade unions to challenge the presence of religious symbols in Greek schools.

The socialist government here is also considering imposing new taxes on the Church's vast fortune, but at the same time is urging it to do more to help immigrants and poor Greeks.
Read the entire article here.

Oh, and while you're at it, check out Touchstone Magazine's Mere Comments for this note of interest: Lithuania to EU: We Will Not Give Our Minors to Homosexualist Indoctrination.

And then there's this "old news" from Germany as reported over at LifeSiteNews, also covered here at Sign of the Times.

And some quarters wonder why parents might choose to home school their children, and why conversions and membership in Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches are on the rise.

(Hint: We don't cater to the current corrupt culture.)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Of Coptic Christians in Their Own Land

Is Darwin Compatible with Materialism?

Over at the First Thoughts blog of First Things, Joe Carter has a provocative quote from atheist philosopher Raymond Tallis asserting that in considering the question of consciousness one must either adhere to materialism or Darwinian evolution, but not both. The piece is entitled The Unnatural Selection of Consciousness.

Does the fact of consciousness exclusively drive us either to materialism or the modern interpretation of Darwinian evolution? It's an interesting question which, of course, ignores any place for a theistic position in relation to evolution.

Give it a read. Your comments are welcome here (as well as there).

Does Evil Exist?

From the mouth of babes....

Source: Orthodox Video of the Day.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

An open question...

"For every argument there is a counter-argument, but who can argue against life?"

a Short Beautiful Prayer for Priests

A Prayer on Behalf of our Priests

O Lord, let Thy priests be clothed with righteousness; let them always remember the greatness of their calling; let them not be entangled in the snares of the world and the devil; let them be saved from the cares of the world, the delight in riches, and the desire for other things entering into their hearts.

- St. John of Kronstadt

Monday, November 09, 2009

Feast Day of St Nektarios

Today is the feastday commemorating St Nektarios of Aegina. If you don't know who he was/is, you'll still most likely recognize the below hymn he wrote.

Troparion of St Nektarios in Tone One

Come, O faithful, let us honor Nektarios, the offspring of Selyvria, the guardian of Aegina, the true friend of virtue, who appeared as a holy servant of Christ. For he pours forth healings of every kind upon those who cry aloud to him with faith: Glory to Christ who glorified you! Glory to Him who crowned you! Glory to Him who through you performs healings for all!

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Someone Must Have Been Praying to the Softener of Evil Hearts

This from KBTX' Web Page.
(Hat Tip to the Priestly Puglist - quite a srappy guy!)

Planned Parenthood Director Leaves, Has Change of Heart

Planned Parenthood has been a part of Abby Johnson's life for the past eight years; that is until last month, when Abby resigned. Johnson said she realized she wanted to leave, after watching an ultrasound of an abortion procedure.

"I just thought I can't do this anymore, and it was just like a flash that hit me and I thought that's it," said Jonhson.

She handed in her resignation October 6. Johnson worked as the Bryan Planned Parenthood Director for two years.

According to Johnson, the non-profit was struggling under the weight of a tough economy, and changing it's business model from one that pushed prevention, to one that focused on abortion.

"It seemed like maybe that's not what a lot of people were believing any more because that's not where the money was. The money wasn't in family planning, the money wasn't in prevention, the money was in abortion and so I had a problem with that," said Johnson.

Note especially the phrase: the money was in abortion.

Read the entire story here.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Elizabeth Bathory must be dancing in her grave

This from yesterday's Washington Times.

Aborted fetus cells used in beauty creams

Valerie Richardson

A San Francisco cosmetics company has ignited an outcry among pro-lifers for including an unexpected ingredient in its anti-aging creams: skin-cell proteins from an aborted fetus.

Children of God for Life, a watchdog group that monitors the use of fetal material in medical products, called last week for a boycott of all treatments manufactured by Neocutis Inc., which acknowledges that the key ingredient in its product line was developed from an aborted boy.

"There's just no excuse for using aborted babies in skin-care products," said Debi Vinnedge, executive director of Children of God for Life, a 10-year-old organization based in Murfreesboro, Tenn. "The reaction, the shock and anger I've seen is incredible."

In a statement released Friday, in response to a wave of condemnation from pro-life and religious blogs, Neocutis defended the use of its trademarked ingredient, Processed Skin Cell Proteins, or PSP, arguing that the fetal cell line was harvested in a responsible, ethical manner for use in treating severe dermatological injuries.

The company compared its situation to that of researchers who used fetal kidney cells to develop the polio vaccine. {BR notes: Of course, kidney cells do not require the death of a child to provide working 'material' for use in pharmacological development.}

"Our view - which is shared by most medical professionals and patients - is that the limited, prudent and responsible use of donated fetal skin tissue can continue to ease suffering, speed healing, save lives and improve the well-being of many patients around the globe," said the statement.

The ingredient was developed at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland from proteins in the skin tissue of a 14-week-old male baby electively aborted at the university's hospital and donated to the Swiss university. The abortion was deemed medically necessary because the baby could not survive to term, according to Neocutis.

The fetal skin cell line was taken from a piece of skin the size of a postage stamp and donated voluntarily by the parents for medical research. The donation was approved by the hospital's medical ethics committee and in accordance with Swiss laws, said the Neocutis statement.
And comments from the Church Fathers?

Charity is no substitute for justice.
Saint Augustine

Unfortunately, in our time, when spheres of knowledge have greatly multiplied, logic has shaken the very foundations of people's faith, and has filled their hearts with questions and doubts. As a consequence, they have been deprived of miracles, for a miracle is something experienced personally, not something than can be logically explained.
Elder Paisios

Theology without action is the theology of demons.
St. Maximos the Confesso

Thou shalt not murder.
Moses the Lawgiver