THE DECODING OF HUMAN GENOME
The Holy Synod of the Church of Greece
warmly welcomes the greatest and probably the most significant discovery
of human science and technology: the decoding of human genome.
She admires the achievement, supports
the thirst for knew knowledge and is deeply sympathizes with the
anticipation of revolutionary progress in diagnostic, preventive and
therapeutic medicine. She glorifies the omniscient God for this gift,
and prays and hopes that a more profound knowledge of our biological and
genetic identity will facilitate the course towards spiritual
self-knowledge as well as the knowledge of God.
Nevertheless, the Church of Greece
perceives, that along with the great promises, genetic revolution
includes dangers which are based on the fact that knowledge is less than
our ignorance; prudence is more scarce than our unreasonable desire; and
values are weaker than interests.
For all these reasons, She calls for
our attention so that the human genome be protected in every possible
way from all kinds of interests and profits, financial exploitation,
eugenic orientation and arrogant dominance. The genome by itself does
not give value to man, neither does the achievement of its decoding;
rather, it is man who gives value to his genome.
Our responsibility towards future
generations, towards the rights and dignity of man, the value and
freedom of the human person, the free progress and research and the
preservation of social stability makes us deny categorically every act
which reduces man to a genetic parameter or a deterministic unit, as
well as any form of racist discrimination based on eugenics.
Simultaneously, it obliges all of us to work for the prevalence of
respect for man upon every form of research objectives and achievements,
for the confidentiality of genetic information and for the protection of
the genome from any kind of abuse.
Moreover, we consider necessary the
formation of independent Committees of Bioethics and Deontology and the
commitment of all countries to promote education and updating on
Bioethics and relevant discussions, which must definitely be open to the
various religious trends. In addition, the "International
Declaration of Human Genome and Human Rights" should be adapted in
accordance to the above principles.
Finally, the Holy Synod of the Church
of Greece has the pleasure to announce the organization of an
International Scientific Convention under the title "Orthodox
Christian faith before the challenge of the 21st century
science and high technology," which will take place on October 4-8,
2000, in Athens. In the fifth session of the said Convention, world wide
known Greek Orthodox scientists, specialized in Genetic Engineering and
Biotechnology, have been invited to analyze in depth the problems
related to the scientific and social dimension of the mapping of the