Hospice chaplain shares his expertise with Russian bishop

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THE Revd Graham Sykes, Chaplain at Sobell House Hospice, recently shared his expertise with Bishop Panteleimon of Orekhovo-Zuevo from the Russian Orthodox Church.

“He had asked to see me so that he could talk about how we do chaplaincy in hospices in the UK. In Russia, they do not have hospices as we know them but instead do all their palliative care in state hospitals where clergy are not always as welcomed by medical staff as they are in the NHS service,” says Graham. “We had extensive discussions about the culturally different understanding of chaplaincy and the role of chaplains. The Russian model includes being openly evangelistic as opposed to our model of the chaplain being there for every patient and their families whether they have religion, faith or none. It was a fascinating exchange of ideas.”

Bishop Panteleimon is chair of the Synodal Department for charity of the Russian Orthodox Church, a member of the Russian Government Commission for the Protection of Public Health, co-chair of the Joint Commission of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Ministry of Health of Russia, a member of the Public Council of the Department of Health in Moscow, deputy chairman of the Board of Trustees of the hospital of St. Alexis, and Abbot of the temple of the Holy blessed Tsarevich Dimitry at the First City Hospital of Moscow.