Russian Church Defends Life at Moment of Conception: Official Document Considered by Council

The Council of Bishops, the Supreme governing body of the Russian Orthodox Church, is scheduled to meet this November. They are planning to consider the approval of a canonical document, On the Security of Human Life from Conception. It stipulates the rights endowed to every human being from the very moment of being conceived.

“There has been no change in our position on this subject, as it was presented in the Foundations of the Social Doctrine of the Russian Orthodox Church adopted over twenty years ago,” said His Grace Silouan, Bishop of Peterhof, Chairman of the Synodal Commission on Bioethics. “The present circumstances, however, require the Church to come up with a separate firm and substantive statement to this effect.”

“Another document related to human life was proposed for consideration by the Bishop’s Council in November, delineating the position of the Russian Orthodox Church with regard to in vitro fertilization (IVF). However, it has been decided not to place it on the Council’s agenda just yet, but rather to continue public discussion of this document,” said Bishop Silouan. “The reasons for that involve certain related problems which are far from being clear from the standpoint of researchers.”