Is this a fair question or a silly question? Medical practitioners must be as old as humanity itself. In history, while there has always been a deep respect for the medical profession, there have been times when this practice was not very efficient at curing illness but, in general, the science has had a very high esteem.

In the times of the early church, that is about 2000 years ago, medical science was at best very dodgy yet it is very interesting what some of the churches’ brightest theologians said about doctors.

I can remember that when I first joined the monastery 60 years ago, we were told to “listen to the doctor as if he was the voice of God.”

All church fathers, who spoke on the topic, emphasize that remedies found in nature or are created from natural elements as well as the art of making them, all have their origin in God. They are gifts to mankind.

St. Basil said “Each of the various sciences was given by God to us to make up what was lacking in nature and this certainly is the case for medicine.” He continues “God had given us medicine that removes what is in excess and supplies what is lacking.”

It is very interesting to see the profound respect for nature which was written almost 2000 years ago. “If the creator caused the earth to produce so many plants, not only edible ones but others that are not, it is precisely because man needs not only food but also remedies for his own healing. This is why physicians gather others to make remedies that cure our ills.” said St. Theodore. Origin said something the church repeats to this day. “The creator has not only placed in nature the remedies which man needed by the endowing him with reason, has given him the knowledge to put them to good use.” He goes on to say that this “science of health” comes directly from God.

I find it very fascinating that our ancestors had such a profound respect and understanding of the earth and nature and the practice of medicine.

It also makes me sad that only last year Pope Francis had to remind us that we are turning our world into a garbage heap without respect of our God given environment.

Let me conclude with another quote from a saint of the past “it is in the name of the Lord that we entrust ourselves to physicians believing that He will affect our healing through them”. It looks like my superiors over 60 years ago know what they were talking about.

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