Members of ENHCC
ENHCC does not have members as such but Chaplaincy Organisations and Churches from the countries of Europe participate in the activities of the Network. On this page we publish the latest information about Health Care Chaplaincy in different counties and list the respresentatives who participate in the Network.
Click on the name of the country in the list on the right to go to that section.
Detlef Schwarz (Blankenberge 2018)
Protestant Health Care Chaplaincy (A.E.K.Ö)
Health Care Chaplaincy in the Protestant Church is
organised, authorised and mostly also paid by the churches.
The hospitals support the chaplaincy by providing the
infrastructure: chapel, office, telephone.
Qualification for chaplains
Ordained and “lay” persons work as hospital chaplains. They have to take part in Clinical Pastoral Training or something adequate. Until recently we had 2 training courses in Austria : one in Salzburg and one in Vienna , some people did their training in CPE in Germany . Now we hope that with 2009 the first official “CPE Austria” will start.
As we work with volunteers as well, we train them by giving them basic information in theology, pastoral care and psychological aspects of communication etc.
Hospital chaplains are experienced as innovative women and men, well trained and professional in their work.
Developments in the next 5 years
The churches are more and more running out of money – we try to find new models of employment, for example by the hospitals.
We are aware that spiritual and psychological care is needed even more these days. This means for us, that we have to learn to cooperate with other professions working with patients.
The ecumenical contacts differ: in some hospitals and parts of Austria we work together in others we lack ecumenical cooperation. It is not always easy going between a majority and a minority church.
Besides that we think it is a new challenge to find ways of cooperation with other religious and cultural traditions; for example Muslims
We have the urgent need of specialisation in different working areas: especially geriatric care. A very important field of cooperation is hospice. But again, we are a minority church and can't work everywhere.
Pfarrer Mag Friedrich Van Scharrel
Austrian Association of Catholic Hospital Chaplaincy
Writing in 2008 Dr Anna Seyfried described Catholic Chaplaincy in Ausgtria at that time.
- Manager of the department “Pastoral Care with people living in difficult situations”
- Roman Catholic spiritual caregiver in a public hospital at Linz
- Responsible of the “Roman Catholic Health care chaplaincy” in Upper Austria (22 hospitals)
- Manager of the “Austrian association of the catholic hospital chaplaincy”
My main tasks are:
- organisation of symposiums and annual meetings; the development of the quality of chaplaincy care;
- professional training for chaplains;
- development of standards and quality systems;
- enabling training for spiritual caregivers in contact with institutes for education;
- solving problems in working affairs;
- working on collective employment conditions together with the different managers of the hospitals
On the staff of “Roman Catholic Health care chaplaincy” are working “lay persons” (theologians), priests, deacons and volunteers. Most of them have undertaken a special training (clinic pastoral care). We also can find various statues of ecumenical cooperation: How ever I'm lucky to cooperate with protestant colleagues on the base of common symposiums and further vocational trainings. Actually we develop a new “clinic pastoral training” for catholic and protestant chaplains in Austria
There are rather different frameworks for “Roman Catholic Health care chaplaincy” in Austria . So we can find pastoral workers who are paid and employed by the dioceses, others are paid by hospital management and employed by the dioceses and some of them are employed and paid by the hospital management.
In the future probably it will be important for the Health care chaplaincy in Austria whether we try to integrate chaplaincy into health care. At the moment we are discussing how the departments of chaplaincy should be positioned in the organisation of the hospital. More and more we find already some models of integration in the structure of ecclesiastical hospitals.
Dr Detlef Schwarz
Diözesanreferent für Krankenpastoral und Notfallseelsorge
Belgium's representatives at Blankenberge (2018): (from left to right) Lindsy Desmet, Martijn Steegen, Bert Verbeke, Anne Vandenhoeck, Evelyn Peeters, Kristien Henderickx, Eva Buelens, Frederique Vanneuville, Axel Liegeois
Chaplains are working in general and university hospitals,
institutions for people with disabilities, mental health
institutions and nursing homes. The majority of those
institutions were founded by catholic organisations but
recent changes in health care provide for mergers between
Christian and non-Christian institutions and let the
religious identity fade away. Most denominational health
care institutions are catholic and their spiritual care
teams consist out of catholic chaplains. If patients have a
different spiritual tradition, the institution will - upon
their request - call for a chaplain of that denomination.
Non-denominational institutions have a team of usually
catholic and humanist spiritual care givers. Chaplains of
other denominations can also be called upon requests from
Catholic chaplains in hospitals are usually trained at the Catholic University of Louvain or at a diocesan school. After graduating, they can still participate in post-master trainings for health care chaplaincy. The Flemish part of Belgium has a professional association for Catholic chaplains that was founded in 2011. Catholic Chaplains are also organized per diocese. The dioceses initiates lectures and training according to the needs of their chaplains. The majority of catholic chaplains are lay men and women. A number of them are trained to be supervisors.
Belgian chaplains are facing challenges that they have in common with other Western European countries. The main one is doing chaplaincy in a time where health care reforms are impacting their care.
For the Academic Centre of Practical Theology, KU Leuven
The Academic Centre was founded in 2003 to serve chaplains and chaplaincy through research, training, supervision and formation. Two members of its board represent the Centre in the ENHCC.
Prof. Dr. Anne Vandenhoeck is a professor of pastoral and spiritual care at the faculty of Theology and Religious Studies and chairs the Academic Centre for Practical Theology. She has more than 14 years of experience in health care chaplaincy: General Hospital A.Z. Damiaan in Oostende (2 years), University Hospital UZ. Gasthuisberg (10 years), CPE in UCSF San Francisco (3 months), Barnes Jewish Hospital St. Louis Missouri (1 year). She was the coordinator of ENHCC from 2010-2016. At this moment she is the director of ERICH (European Research Institute for Chaplains in Health Care) leading the PROM spiritual care research.
Prof. Dr. Anne Vandenhoeck
Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies
Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
Sint-Michielsstraat 4 mailbox 3101
Axel Liégeois is a catholic moral and
pastoral theologian from Belgium. He studied philosophy,
theology and ethics, and was trained in counselling and
pastoral supervision. At this time, he is full professor of
care ethics and practical theology at the Faculty of
Theology and Religious Studies, KU Leuven (Catholic
University Leuven), Belgium, where he holds the Chair of the
Brothers of Charity for Theology, Mental Health and
Disability. He is also posted as ethical advisor to the
Brothers of Charity in Gent, Belgium, a religious
congregation with twenty five facilities for people with
psychiatric problems or with disabilities. His research,
teaching and services focus on ethics in health care
chaplaincy and in the care for people with mental health
problems or intellectual disabilities. A selection of his
publications can be consulted and downloaded at the webpage
also available in French and Dutch.
He already served on the ENHCC Committee from 2008 to 2012, and organised the consultation in Blankenberge, Belgium, in 2018.
Prof. Dr. Axel Liégeois
Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies
Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
Sint-Michielsstraat 4 mailbox 3101
‘Beroepsvereniging Zorgpastores’ (the association for professional chaplains in health care) was founded in 2011 and unites around 200 catholic chaplains in The Flemish part of Belgium.
‘Beroepsvereniging Zorgpastores’ wishes to contribute to the professionalization and integration of catholic chaplains in health care. Our organisation wants to enhance the best possible spiritual care for patients, their loved ones and staff; to look after the interests of chaplains and to share knowledge.
The association initiates interfaith dialogue around spiritual care in health care and aims to put spiritual care on the political agenda.
Ten priority goals of the association – some already have been attained:
1. Advocate for the integration of chaplaincy in health care on the level of politics and society. Working towards the protection of the profession.
2. Listing the needed competencies for chaplains.
3. Develop a code of ethics for chaplains.
4. Develop standards for the number of chaplains to be hired in health care facilities in relation to the needs of different patient groups.
5. Advertise, promote the profession and contribute to its appeal.
6. Critically reflect on and describe the relation between chaplain, health care facility and his or her religious tradition or faith.
7. Reflect on the content of the profession in dialogue with other religions and faiths.
8. Be a partner in dialogue for educators and educational systems regarding spiritual care.
9. Support chaplains in difficult situations.
10. Home care: Rethink the connection between spiritual care at home and in a health care facility due to the restructuring of health care.
Kristof Decoorne, chair and Lindsy Desmet, vice-chair
Kristien Henderickx, Coördinator
Anne Vandenhoeck, member of the commitee
Elien Rogiers, administrative assistant
Hospital chaplain, Sofia, Bulgaria.
After his ordination, Mario Yonov wanted to be a chaplain in the army or in a hospital. Something quite unusual for his country. After one year of being a volunteer visiting patients in the Alexandrovska hospital (Sofia), he organised a meeting between the management, the medical staff and theologians. It took many discussions but with the blessing of his bishop and the agreement of the minister of health, he became a hospital chaplain in 2002. He was the first chaplain in Bulgaria, paid by a hospital. In the two following years he designed a job description for chaplains, using the Standards (2002) and his own personal experience.
After a while, he became a team member of the MS centre and of the centre for treatment for drug addiction. He provides a religious program for patients in the psychiatric day clinic and is available for staff, patients and their families at all the other units in the hospital. He takes a special interest in pastoral care for people who experienced a loss and tries to bring them together.
Fr Mario keeps training himself. Among others in psychotherapeutic competencies aiming to focus on the religious and existential dimensions of life. Next to individual care for the drug addicts, he also works with groups. He even teaches them boxing and Taekundo (he was a trainer in both for children and soldiers of the air force from 1990-2002). For his inspiration and formation in pastoral care, he draws upon literature and experiences from Polish and Russian colleagues. Recently he spent one month in White Russia on training.
It is Fr Mario's aspiration to write a PhD because he feels the need to teach theology students and medical students about pastoral care. Especially so that the last ones would be more alert for the religious needs of their patients.
Fr Mario concludes: ‘My example, to work as a hospital chaplain, is not followed by other priests. One of the reasons for that is the very modest pay and maybe another reason is the instinctive avoidance of people who are sick…'
Mario Yonov (born 1970) has a master in theology and was ordained as a deacon and priest in 2001.
Written in 2004. Jordan has now left Bulgaria and is working in a hospital in Germany.
Dr Jordan Vuchkov
Unfortunately in the past 2 years health care chaplaincy in Bulgaria has not had the good results, which we all (medical professionals, clergy and the whole society) awaited.
The number of good news stories from Bulgaria are not so many:
1. At the moment there is one hospital chaplain (Fr Mario Jonov), paid from the State. He works in the University Hospital “Aleksandrowska” in Sofia – the capital city of Bulgaria. The former Director of this Hospital was an anaesthetist and he decided that the patients, their families and the staff need spiritual care and appointed Fr Mario a hospital chaplain. Fr. Mario works and lives 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in the Hospital. Because we haven't got clergy Spiritual Care education, many physicians like Dr. Vladimir Bostandjiev help him to learn guidelines for good practice in medicine and psychotherapy.
2. Some other pastors (Fr. Constantine from the Town of Kazanlak) sometime serve liturgies in Hospital chapels in other Bulgarian cities.
3. The European Standards for Health Care Chaplaincy are published in “Health Care Management” – a well-known Bulgarian medical magazine.
4. In 2003 a 2 year scientific project started in the Medical Faculty, Thracian University-Stara Zagora. The subject is, “The Necessity of an Interdisciplinary ICU-Team”. The aims of the Project are to help the development of Bulgarian society, to confirm and support the incorporation of our country into European spiritual and cultural values and practical standards. That means:
To declare that the patients and their relatives are the centre of ICU;
- To present this fact to the patients, colleagues and society;
- To lay down the necessity of building an ICU-Interdisciplinary team;
- To involve the Church in healthcare practices;
- To define the role and tasks of all team-members;
- To improve on medical education.
A variety of people take part in the project (Chairperson Dr Jordan Vuchkov, PhD) - medical (physicians, ICU-nurses, Medical Faculty/Medical College students) and non medical (psychologists, chaplains, social workers, social work students) professionals. All members believe that modern intensive medicine has the task of treating not only physical pain, but also social, psychological and spiritual suffering of critically ill patients and their relatives. The necessity of salving this important problem is among the reasons for building an ICU interdisciplinary team, which integrates efforts of different healthcare professionals - physicians, nurses, social workers, chaplains, psychologists, and volunteers. Our 2-year project includes development of:
- Initiatives for legal guarantees for the rights of patients for spiritual care in Bulgaria (we published 5 books);
- Teaching programs for medical faculty/medical college students, social work-students, physicians and nurses to understand and support spiritual needs and values of patients, their families and staff (In 2003/2004 in the Medical Faculty started a teaching module called “Social work with terminally ill patients in ICU”);
- Teaching programs for chaplains, to be able to work as key member of an Interdisciplinary team;
- An Interdisciplinary team in the ICU, including physician, nurses, social worker, chaplain, psychologist, volunteers.
The following activities were carried out:
- 2003 – International Introductory course “Building of an ICU-Interdisciplinary team”; [More information]
- 2004 – Second International Conference “Building of an ICU-Interdisciplinary team”. [More information]
I have attached separate files from 2003 and 2004.
The reasons for this minimal achievement in Bulgaria are many and varied.
1. The Bulgarian Orthodox Church is still passive and stays away from the reality of modern Bulgarian society. The Bishops say always: The Church doesn't have money for Health Care Chaplaincy.
2. On the other side Directors of our Hospitals also say: We haven't got money for the chaplains.
3. The Charity and Non-governmental organizations, which are trying to care for patients and relatives haven't got financial stability, so they haven't got the opportunity to work in Bulgarian Hospitals.
4. Naturally, the problems aren't only financial. Perhaps the people need time to realize the necessity of spiritual support. Perhaps the people need time to say: Let it be.
Dr Jordan Vuchkov
University Hospital, Stara Zagora, Bulgaria
Orthodox Church of Bulgaria
Dr Jordan Stojanov Vuchov MD
Alexandrovska University Hospital
Fr Mario Yonov
1 Georgi Sofijski Blvd
Alexandrovska University Hospital
Fr Linos Petrides, Fr Marios Demosthenous (Blankenberge 2018)
The Church of CyprusHealth Care Chaplaincy in Cyprus
Cyprus is the third largest island of the Mediterranean with a population fast approaching 1 million. Since 1974, and after an invasion by Turkey, 36% of the island's territory is occupied by the Turkish army. Despite this recent tragic event in the history of the island the Greek-cypriots have since performed a small economic miracle in succeeding to bounce back from the invasion, and in creating a prospering economy with a GDP slightly above the average of the EU.
The Church of Cyprus is an autocephalous church within the communion of Orthodox Christianity. It is one of the oldest autocephalous churches achieving independence from the Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East in 431. The Turkish invasion of 1974 meant that the Church of Cyprus had to concentrate most of its efforts on helping its people cope with the many consequences of the war. Other pertinent areas where the Church could traditionally have a role, were therefore left undeveloped. One of these areas was that of health care chaplaincy. Nevertheless, in the past few years steps have been taken by all Dioceses in order to ensure that at least all large hospitals of the country have suitably qualified chaplains positioned in them. All chaplains are members of the clergy while some are medical doctors themselves. The Church is responsible for the chaplains, and although these are recognised by the institutions in which they serve, there is no formal relationship between the chaplain and the institution. Clearly, there are a lot to be done, both in laying a formal foundation / framework with regards to the provision of chaplaincy services in the country, as well as in the education of the existing chaplains. It is, however, satisfactory that the Church is recognising the needs of those affected by illness, and is taking steps to meet those needs.
Fr Marios Demosthenous
Blankenberge (2018) - From left to right: Μarek Frantisek Drabek, Matej Hajek, Vaclav Tomiczek
Catholic Health Care Chaplaincy in Czech Republic
The Catholic Association of Health Care Chaplains was
founded in 2014. Among its members, there are not only
chaplains, but also volunteers, theologians and other
experts. It had a total number of 111 members in 2017. There
were 81 health care chaplains in hospitals and social
facilities, 11 volunteers and 19 experts.
The education of the health care chaplains is long-standing and continuous. The Catholic Association at its founding took over the organization and preparation of annual several-day formation and educational meeting of health care chaplains. This form of education had evolved since 2005. Moreover, other activities are prepared in the course of the year, serving to education and meeting of the health care chaplains. Ecumenical meetings and services take place in many hospitals on 11th February on the occasion of the World day of the sick.
From 2016 we offer courses for chaplains in cooperation with theological faculties in Prague, Olomouc and České Budějovice. These two-semestral courses are ecumenically-based, include theoretical base and praxis at hospitals, hospices and elderly homes, and are finished by qualifying exam. In 2006, an agreement on pastoral care in hospitals between the Czech Bishop Conference and the Ecumenical Council of Churches in the Czech Republic was signed; in 2012, the agreement was specified by an Amendment.
The churches define there the health care chaplain and the volunteer in pastoral care and declare the conditions for education and appointing chaplains in hospitals. In April 2017 grounded Methodical directive for spiritual care in hospitals was published by Czech department of the healthcare. This document is focusing on defining terms of spiritual care, including targets, principles and demands for hospital chaplain qualification and others. On the basis of this document, it was grounded Committee for spiritual care in the Ministery of healthcare, which includes members from Department of the healthcare, Association of hospitals, Ecumenical Council of Churches and Czech Bishop Conference. This Committee will follow in proceeding legislation in our field. Finally in July 2019 there was made an important step, Spiritual care agreement in healthcare, which was signed by Czech department of the healthcare, Czech Bishop council and Ecumenical Council of Churches.
This document sets out the framework, concepts and structure for the provision of spiritual care in health care
settings. The Catholic Association of Health Care Chaplains works closely with the Association of Hospital Chaplains, especially in negotiations at the Ministry of Health, but also in other activities.
Catholic Association of Health Care Chaplains in the Czech Republic
Dn. Michal Hrnčiarik, MD, Bc
REPRESENTATIVES AT ENHCC
Fr. Václav Tomiczek, MA, ThLic.
Hospital Chaplaincy in Czech Republic
The Association of hospital chaplains was founded in 2011 in order to coordinate, educate hospital chaplains and promote chaplaincy in the country. As the Association we have the Board consisting of five members from different church denominations (Evangelical church of Czech Brethren, Silesian Evangelical Church, Evangelical Brethren Church. Roman Catholic Church). The Association organizes the Annual Conference in Prague (online during covid period), the study seminars for the education of chaplains and communicates with the Evangelical Theological faculty about training for hospital chaplains, offers supervision for its members. Association also cooperates with the Commission for Spiritual Care in Health Service that works under the roof of Ecumenical Council of Churches in Czech Republic and with the Committee for spiritual care of the Ministry of Health of the Czech Republic.
In 2019 representatives of Christian churches have signed an important agreement with the Ministry of Health and managed to complete many years of efforts to standardize spiritual care in the Czech Republic. The tripartite agreement concluded between the Ministry of Health of the Czech Republic, the Czech Bishops' Conference (ČBK) and the Ecumenical Council of Churches in the Czech Republic (ERC) represents a historically significant step, as it sets out the framework, concepts and structure for providing spiritual care in health care facilities. Nevertheless much more must be done, before the clerical service in hospitals gains ground and clear and transparent rules across all hospitals and health facilities.
Spiritual service in hospitals takes place on an ecumenical
basis and the chaplains are organized in two bodies-beside
our association there is a younger Catholic association.
Both organizations are uniting more than two hundred
chaplains. Hospitals with the service of hospital chaplains
can be found on the map on the website of the Association of
Hospital Chaplains (https://www.nemocnicnikaplan.cz/);
for hospital chaplains can also be found on the website of the Catholic Association of Hospital Chaplains in the Czech Republic (www.kaplan-nemocnice.cz).
Pavel Ruml, Chairman of the Association of hospital chaplains
Mgr. Pavel Ruml
kaplan ÚVN Praha-Střešovice
předseda Asociace nemocničních kaplanů
Healthcare Chaplaincy in Denmark
PRIS is an organization of about 100 chaplains of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Denmark working in different areas within healthcare. We work in somatic hospitals, psychiatric hospitals as well as in Hospices. Most of us part time, as we also have a smaller or a larger percentage working as ordinary pastors in the Lutheran Evangelical Church in Denmark. PRIS is a part of the union for chaplains and pastors in Denmark called “Praesteforeningen”. PRIS forms a committee of 7 members, one from each region + one elected at the general assembly. Committee members are elected for two years at a time.
The Association of Health Care Chaplains in Denmark:
Rev. Ulla Britt Soerensen
Psykiatrien Oest, Region Sjaelland
Mobil: +45 20 21 25 66
Fr Stavros Kofinas (Blankenberge 2018)
The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople has been the
centre of Christianity throughout the history of the Eastern
Church and Hellenism, from the time of the First Ecumenical
Synod (325 AD) down to the third millennium. It is the
"First See" among the earliest Patriarchates of Eastern
Christendom and the Autocephalous Orthodox Churches. Under
the leadership of the Ecumenical Patriarch, Bartholomew I,
its immediate Patriarchal jurisdiction is around
Constantinople and Asia Minor, but in essence, it does not
have geographical boundaries. This makes its character truly
ecumenical in nature. Within the realm of Europe, subject to
the Patriarchate are the Churches of Great Britain
(including Ireland and Malta), France and the Iberian
Peninsula, Germany, Austria and Hungary, Scandinavia,
Belgium, Switzerland, Italy, Northern Greece, the Southern
Greek Islands and Crete.
(See: www.pastoralhealth-ep.com/metropolises/ )
Throughout its history, the Church of Constantinople was intertwined with the care of the sick and health care chaplaincy. In Byzantium, the Church established many hospitals and hostels that facilitated the needs of those who were suffering. After the fall of the Eastern Christian Empire, the role of the Patriarchate became more vital in meeting the demands for philanthropic health care. Orthodox Christians played a major role in the Ottoman Empire, establishing hospitals and parish centred health services.
Today, this long tradition remains alive. Within the modern
city of Istanbul, the Ecumenical Patriarchate oversees the
Baloukli General Hospital, which also includes a psychiatric
hospital and a home for the aged. In countries that are
dominated by an Orthodox populace, each Metropolis offers
many services, ranging from homes for the aged to home care
services. Clergymen work closely with the laymen in managing
all of these services. In Greece, where the populous is
mostly Orthodox, the majority of the hospitals are operated
by the State. An assigned priest serves these hospitals. In
many cases, these priests serve as full time chaplains paid
by the State. In the jurisdictions of the diaspora
(those which are outside of the realm of Constantinople,
Asia Minor and Greece) the residing Orthodox Christians are
a minority. Because of this, the local parish priest, who
heads a very close-knitted community, offers pastoral health
care to the Orthodox Christians in need.
(See: www.pastoralhealth-ep.com/philanthropiccenters/modern/) In many Metropolises of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, there is a clergyman specifically assigned to coordinating pastoral healthcare. www.pastoralhealth-ep.com/metropolises/
The majority of the priests who serve the sick have received some type of pastoral education within their theological training. Presently, there are no specific formal qualifications or standards for those who administer to the sick. The priests who serve hospitals and other healthcare facilities are chosen according to their spiritual competence and discretion. Many of them have created a sound and well rounded tradition of pastoral health care worthy of high appraisal. The parish priests are expected to have, and, in most cases, do have a high sense of pastoral consciousness. (See: www.pastoralhealth-ep.com/pastoraled/)
In order for our Church to continue providing high quality
pastoral care to the suffering, it is necessary that all
those who are involved in caring for the will to unite their
efforts and pastoral concerns, to become more aware of the
dynamics, developments and prospects of health care and to
improve the spiritual care they offer. The rapid progress in
medical science, the increasing concern in the spiritual
dimension of illness and the need to cooperate with other
faiths and health organizations on a world-wide
multidisciplinary level makes this need even more essential.
Realizing this necessity, the Hold Synod of the Ecumenical
Throne decided to hold the first “International
Conference on Pastoral Health Care of the Ecumenical
Patriarchate”. It was held in Rhodes
between the 8th and 12th of October 2008. Representatives
from all the Metropolises throughout the world that belong
to the Ecumenical Patriarchate attended (clergy, doctors and
others that serve in the sensitive area of health care),
together with representatives from the Churches of Greece,
Cyprus, Albania, representatives from other denominations
and other health care providers.
After the Conference of Rhodes, His All-Holiness, the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, with the firm conviction and commitment which characterizes his pastoral identity, took the initiative to form a Network of the Ecumenical Patriarchate for Pastoral Health Care. Such a network will give the opportunity to all who minister to the sick to benefit from sharing their knowledge and experience and to improve their training. Together with this, the network will contribute to the further development of ministering to the sick with high quality pastoral care. (See: www.pastoralhealth-ep.com/)
The aims of the network are:
1) To form a clearer understanding of Orthodox theology in relation to pastoral health care
2) A more systematic account of the pastoral care offered in hospitals and health care facilities by Orthodox clergy and lay people.
3) The formation a dialogue of chaplains and pastoral caretakers with other health care professionals
Efforts are also being made to also form a closer working relationship with chaplains of other Faiths and denominations, especially in the areas of Europe where Orthodox are a minority. Health care chaplaincy is on the agenda of the Orthodox-Muslim dialogue which is underway.
Representing the Ecumenical Patriarchate at the Anniversary Consultation of the European Network of Health Care Chaplaincy in London is Fr Stavros Kofinas Coordinator of the Network of the Ecumenical Patriarchate for Pastoral Health Care. He is a priest (protopresbyter) and a practicing psychotherapist with a wide experience in the area of health care chaplaincy. After his studies in theology, clinical psychology and pastoral psychiatric care, he served for many years as a chaplain in a general hospital in Athens. He has organized and taken part in many educational seminars and training programs for clergy, doctors, nurses and social workers. Presently Fr Kofinas is the celebrant at the Monastery of St Meletios of Kitherona. He established and supervised the clergy of the pastoral program for the Hospital of Elefsis, serves as a supervising consultant for the Counselling Program of the Metropolis of Peristeri, and is very active in the area of psychotherapy.
He first attended the European Consultation of Hospital
Chaplaincy, which took place in Rome. On behalf of the
Ecumenical Patriarch, he headed the organization of the 6th
Consultation, which took place in Crete, and took part
in the organisational committee
for the 7th Consultation in Finland,
where he was elected as Coordinator of the ENHCC. . He was
re-elected Coordinator at the 8th Consultation in Dublin in
2004 for four years and the 10th Consultation in Estonia for
another two years.
Rev. Dr. Stavros Kofinas
Coordinator of the Network of the Ecumenical Patriarchate for Pastoral Health Care
171 24 Nea Smyrni
Phone: +30-6944 57 3625
Fax: +30 – 210 93 74 217
Estonia's representatives (Blankenberge 2018): Kai Joemets, Saima Sellak-Martinson, Siimon Haamer, Annika Laats
Pastoral Care in the Estonia
Pastoral care has been practiced in Estonia since 1992. The first training of professional pastoral caregivers was organised as a joint project by Estonian and Finnish Lutheran churches ten years ago in Tartu (Estonia). The educators leading this project were all professionals from Finland. During this training the students also started to practice pastoral care in several hospitals in Estonia.
1993-1995 three graduates of the first training program continued their studies in Finland where they passed more complex training of pastoral care and counselling. 1996-1998 two of them attended the program of pastoral care supervisors there.
In 1994 the Centre of Pastoral Care was founded by the Estonian Evangelic Lutheran Church. For that time the Estonian pastoral caregivers had got their first practical experiences and the field of pastoral care was actualised and recognised also outside of church. Now the Centre of Pastoral Care of the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church has closed. But the responsibility for pastoral care is taken over by Diaconal Council with a coordinator of pastoral care, who is responsible for this area of work within the Lutheran Church
The field of Pastoral Care has two main focuses. First the provision of training courses in pastoral care and counselling to educate professional caregivers and to ensure the continuity of pastoral care tradition in Estonia. The second aim is to develop and regulate the practice of pastoral care and counselling in hospitals, communities and welfare institutions. One of the important purposes is to introduce the field of the pastoral care outside of the church community by cooperating with public institutions.
The basic training in pastoral care and counselling lasts one year. After the basic training the students can attend additional courses in more specific subjects. In most cases the participants of the training program are community workers and workers from welfare institutions who can apply the skills of pastoral care and counselling in their professional life. But also other members of community and volunteers benefit from the basic training.
Today one of the main priorities of pastoral caregivers in Estonia is to introduce the field of pastoral care and the profession of pastoral caregiver outside of church community as the official status of pastoral caregivers is still undefined in Estonian society. The pastoral caregivers usually find a full-time job in the institutions where the leadership board is aware of the field of pastoral care and able to understand the functions of pastoral caregiver and to value the advantages of his/her work. In recent years there is a growing awareness of pastoral care in society and there is an increasing circle of institutions who hire pastoral caregivers to solve internal problems of organisation, education or supervision in their organisations. For example there is very good cooperation with the state Victim Support program and also with the Central Rescue Department etc.
Last Year in the field of pastoral care, the Centre of Pastoral Care in Tartu was opened. It is staffed by students of Pastoral Care who had been educated by Naatan Haamer in basic training courses. The idea of this centre is to offer people the possibility of getting free help from professionals. This possibility was available in Tartu outside of hospitals where pastoral caregiver are working. The Centre of Pastoral Care, like this, is the first in Estonia and is made possible only by enthusiasm of students and with help of local sponsors. The Centre is still working very successfully and has a high reputation amongst the citizens as well in the city government.
The coordinator of pastoral care
Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church
Evangelical Lutheran Church of Estonia
Rev Naatan Haamer
Lepiku 14 -3b
Jussi Ollila, Karoliina Nikula, Seppo Viljamaa (Blankenberge 2018)
SAIRAALATEOLOGIT RY – SJUKHUSTEOLOGERNA RF –
HOSPITAL THEOLOGIANS ASSC.
Hospital chaplains in Finland, are employed by the parishes
or parish unions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church.
Pastoral counselling in hospitals entails helping people mentally and spiritually in their time of need and providing a service in which the Church works for people´s good by receiving them, sharing their distress and offering the Gospel. Practical pastoral care in hospitals is carried out by specially trained hospital chaplains. They are there for patients, their relatives and personnel. Chaplains special education is organized by the Evangelical Lutheran Church. More than a 65 percent of the hospital pastoral care employees had undergone the Church´s work supervision training, more than half of them are also supervision of work, several also have psychotherapist´s training.
Hospital chaplains´ work is improving and coordinating nationwide by National Church Council, department of the Diaconia and Pastoral Counselling by leader advisor of Pastoral Counselling.
In 2016 hospital chaplains had 42 300 pastoral care discussion with patients, 11 000 with relatives and 9 000 with personnel. They gave almost 4 000 hour supervision of work and they where consulted 1500 times. Grieving groups were organised also in hospitals for those who had lost their spouse, loved one of child, and for the family members of suicide victims, approximately 3000 person attended them. Hospital pastoral care made more than 1500 house calls, tells about the increase in outpatient pastoral care. In 2016 there were 110 fulltime and 25 part-time hospital chaplains.
The Finnish Association of Hospital Chaplains
Jussi K.K.Ollila (Director)
Pia Ala-Soini (Financial Secretary)
Anna-Maija Lakomaa (Secretary)
France's representatives (Blankenberge 2018): Eliane Wild, Joel Ceccaldi, Agnes Vez, Constantino Fiore
CATHOLIC HOSPITAL CHAPLAINCYThe chaplaincy in France is represented in most cities and directly reports to each local bishop who appoints local chaplains.
A national chaplain is based at French Bishops Conférence (CEF) in Paris.
About 11,000 people constitute the country catholic chaplaincy. Most of them are volunteers under the supervision of locally appointed chaplains. Chaplains are either volunteers or hired by hospitals or health structures. Chaplaincy team work and team spirit is given very high consideration at every level of activity : Country, province (or archidiocese), diocese and health establishments.
If the chaplaincy team is the body which sends out to the elderly, the disabled and the sick, it is also the “return point” where everyone reports what happened, as did Jesus’ disciples returning from the mission he had assigned to them. Since Easter morning Christ resurrected is with us, “He is always already here”, present in each of our encounters.
Therefore French chaplains attach great importance to "pastoral rereading", a way to discuss together practical cases in a pastoral perspective.
Chaplaincy in France has to comply with restrictions directly associated with secularity constraints. The separation of Church and State, which took place in 1905, has defined a "French-style" secularity in which the chaplaincy has a peculiar status : it is the only way for the Church to be present in governmental structures.
Being a chaplain in France implies to be missioned by your religious community which provides the chaplain a "mission letter": this document is required by hospital directors in order to employ a new chaplain.
Aumônerie Nationale Catholique des Hôpitaux
58, avenue de Breteuil
Mr Costantino FIORE
Protestant Healthcare Chaplaincy
The Protestant Federation of France is a unique Federation to which the majority of Protestant Churches in France are affiliated. The church members reflect together on various societal topics and certain organizational questions. This institution also expresses needs or concerns on the behalf of the Protestant Churches to public authorities. That is why, as the Health Department looks to structure hospital chaplaincy in public hospitals, it turns towards the Protestant Federation for all questions concerning nomination and accreditation of protestant chaplains.
Appointed by the Council of the Protestant Federation in 2011, the Head Chaplain, Rev. Isabelle Meykuchel, is presently working with the National Commission of HealthCare Chaplaincy of the Federation to organize and structure this relatively new chaplaincy.
Until the 1990’s few chaplains were salaried fulltime by
hospital institutions. Pastors were sent into hospital by
the Churches on a call-in basis. The number of chaplains has
grown and today there are about 120 healthcare chaplains,
the majority of which are salaried by the hospitals. One of
the challenges facing the Head Chaplain and her Commission
is the regional organization of this chaplaincy. Up until
now, chaplains were, for the most part, dependant on local
Church organization. In a desire to harmonize the different
structures, the national Commission seeks to set up regional
entities, facilitating closer ties with the national
structure (Head Chaplain and Commission).
The Head Chaplain and the Commission also oversee questions concerning continuing education. Chaplains are required to follow at least one session of CPT training. Every two years chaplains, volunteers and health professionals from all French speaking countries are invited to a congress dealing with healthcare and chaplaincy topics. Bi-annual meetings are held on the following year, specifically bringing together protestant healthcare chaplains. The Protestant Universities of Strasbourg and Montpellier offer courses for chaplaincy work as well. Training sessions for new chaplains are organized at a national level but there is a desire within the Commission to develop more continuing education.
In 2010 many of the Churches from the Evangelical movement as well as the Pentecostal movement formed a new federation: CNEF (Conseil National des Eglises Evangéliques de France). The Protestant Federation has recently been working with the CNEF concerning the accreditation of hospital chaplains coming from Churches who are members of the CNEF.
Since her nomination, Rev Isabelle Meykuchel has had to face up to numerous tasks; one of them is meeting with official authorities, such as the Department of Health and another is speaking at official meetings. She is also our ambassador to different Church authorities in an effort to promote professional healthcare chaplaincy.
The French context
France is a secular country. The law of 1905 not only separated government and Church but also set the foundations for chaplaincies. This law guaranties individual religious rights and also guaranties equality of treatment of different religious faiths by government.
Two specific circulars were recently written by the Department of Health in an effort to structure and more fully integrate healthcare chaplaincies within the hospital institutions. The circular of 2006 defines how chaplains are to be recruited by public hospital administrations. The term “patients’ spiritual needs” is used for the first time in an official document referring to chaplaincy. The circular of 2011 presents a multi - faith chart. This chart was written in collaboration between representatives of each faith group (Catholic, Muslim, Jewish and Protestant) and government officials. It proposes methods for better integration of chaplaincy work and patient information in public hospitals. This circular also asks each hospital to appoint a health professional in charge of the organization of the chaplaincies in the local hospital. This person is supposed to facilitate the insertion of the chaplaincy within the local hospital. In the near future, the Department of Health plans to evaluate the application of the 2011 circular within the different public hospitals.
French Healthcare chaplaincy in general has greatly evolved in the past two decades. There is still work to be done. The meaning of spiritual care is still not always understood by healthcare professionals. Confusion between the respect of secular laws and the recognition of patients’ spiritual needs is still prevalent. This subject will probably be an important issue in the coming years for the development of healthcare chaplaincy in France.
[Paris, September 1, 2014]
Fédération Protestante de France
Commission de l'Aumônerie des Etablissements
President of the Commission
Rév Jean-Jacques Bonsirven
Rev. Isabelle Meykuchel
Fédération Protestant de France
47, rue de Clichy
75009 Paris FRANCE
E-mail : Isabelle.MEYKUCHEL@federationprotestante.org
Rév Anne Miller
Νika Hoefler, Tony Jung-Hankel, Corinna Schmohl (Blankenberge 2018)
Health Care Chaplaincy in the Protestant Church (EKD)
In Germany, health care chaplaincy ("institutional pastoral care") is guaranteed in the German Constitution (Art. 140 GG in conjunction with Art. 141 WRV), where it says, that the churches as religious communities are to be allowed to perform religious activities in hospitals and other public institutions, whereby any form of coercion is excluded due to the fundamental right of freedom of religion. Health care chaplaincy is thus carried out on behalf of the Church in ecumenical (protestant and catholic) responsibility. Among the approximately 84M inhabitants of Germany, 54% are Christians. Almost half of them are protestants. Other faith groups currently develop similar offers in line with the established standard.
The Protestant Church in Germany is the community of its 20
Lutheran, Reformed and united regional churches with the EKD
(Evangelische Kirche Deutschland) as head-organisation. But
the EKD is not authorized to make decisions which concern
the regional churches. We have professional standards, which
are obligatory for all regional churches. Every hospital
chaplain has to observe this – though there are always
exceptional cases. Churches assign chaplains according the
First in 2004, then again, in 2015 guidelines for Protestant Health Care Chaplaincy were published giving
information about work and standards. The guideline from 2015 is titled “Menschen stärken – Seelsorge in der evangelischen Kirche” (Empowering people – pastoral care within the Protestant Church) published by Traugott Roser, Kerstin Lammer, Sebastian Bork and Ingo Habenicht.
Professional standards include: Graduate in academic
protestant Theology, ordination as pastor, reverend or
deacon) and at least two Courses of CPT (clinical pastoral training). The usual process of assigning a person as Healthcare Chaplain consists of public advertising a position for health care chaplaincy by the (regional) church, forming an application committee - consisting of at least one board certified chaplain, representatives of the church government and more and more a representative of the hospital - and an application procedure is carried out.
Hospitals in German states are both public and private.
University hospitals, communal hospitals are as common as
hospitals connected to faith based organisations (Diakonie,
Caritas, and others). More and more, business companies,
belonging to the private sector, take over existing public
Developing Health Care Chaplaincy – visions and steps
There are currently several challenges for pastoral care and healthcare chaplaincy:
1. Declining numbers in church membership and, consequently, church taxes lead to a new struggle for the distribution of scarce financial resources.
2. Although the COVID-19-pandemic has shown the importance of health care chaplaincy since 2020, there is still a prioritization of positions within the parish.
3. Hospitals have been financially burdened since the pandemic, which makes it even more difficult to get financial support for health care chaplaincy.
4. There are fewer and fewer pastors. At the same time members of other professions apply for a job as chaplain. Therefore, the theological qualifications of other professional groups are discussed.
5. Changes in our hospitals are going on. Due to DRG-regulated funding, patients stay for ever shorter periods (less then five days) within the hospital. The patients who cannot be treated any longer have to go back home or are transfered to rehabilitation institutions and – in case of terminal illness – to hospice institutions, to nursing homes. As a consequence, the time slot for a chaplain’s visit, is getting smaller with more diagnostic and therapeutic activities stuffed in a short period of time. Professonal healthcare chaplaincy within other institutions than hospitals is not available everywhere, especially not in homecare-settings.
Chaplaincy has become more and more professional within the last 15 years. As result of professionalisation processes, chaplaincy is no longer considered as foreigner, but still keeps at a distance as patient-centered support within the hospital. Questions of integration vs independence of chaplaincy, have been highly discussed, clarifying a concept of chaplaincy as Spiritual Care. Chaplaincy has to demonstrate its effect by charting ike nurses or doctors. At the moment great efforts are made to develop cooperation between structures inside and outside the hospitals to guarantee the best possible care for the patients and to consider their wishes about treatment and quality of life, for example in palliative care or treatment of persons in need of care.
As a senior pastor for Health Care Chaplaincy in the Berlin
church, I am responsible for around 100 Chaplains in an
advisory capacity. My main tasks are:
- organization of annual meetings; the development of the quality of pastoral care;
- vocational training for chaplains;
- development of standards and quality systems;
- solving problems in labour matters;
- Financing negotiations with the management of the hospitals
Rev Anne Heimendahl
(Konferenz für Klinikseelsorge in der EKD)
Landespfarrerin für Krankenhausseelsorge
Roman-Catholic Health Care Chaplaincy in Germany
The 27 dioceses of the Roman-Catholic Church in Germany
employ about 1,500 hospital chaplains. The staff involves
priests, deacons and religious as well as lay people. As a
rule, they are highly qualified for their service, as high
standards have been established in the training of hospital
chaplains in the past 20 years. In many dioceses there are
special institutes for clinical pastoral training.
The ultimate responsibility for hospital chaplaincy rests with the local bishop, who appoints a diocesan commissioner for hospital chaplaincy in his diocese. All diocesan commissioners meet once a year for a conference in order to exchange experiences and to discuss topical issues, such as the scope of hospital chaplaincy, pastoral care in hospitals and for patients at home, ethical questions in hospitals or consequences of the development of health care policy.
At local level, the catholic hospital chaplains have an excellent and close ecumenical cooperation with chaplains of the protestant church. At national level, too, the protestant and catholic representatives in charge of hospital chaplaincy meet on a regular basis to exchange experiences.
Dr Hans-Gerd Angel
After a three years professorship for social ethics at the University of Bonn I am back at the secretariat of the German Bishops’ Conference since October 2006. From 1992 to 2003 I worked at the department for World Church affairs mainly on peace keeping and development questions. Now within the department for pastoral care I’m responsible for the coordination of some pastoral fields: the catholic hospital chaplaincy, the catholic part of the ecumenical crisis line, the handicapped persons and the serious ill and dying people including burial questions. Moreover I coordinate an annual ecumenical ‘campaign’ called Week for life existing 20 years promoting the human dignity.
I have studied theology and German studies, did a doctorate in moral theology and I’m associate professor for social ethics at the University of Münster.
I am a male nurse and a theologian. One of my functions in
the ASSOCIATION OF GERMAN CATHOLIC HOSPITALS (about 500) is
to compose an annual programme for hospital chaplaincies
supplementary to the training and advanced training of the
dioceses. In the CONFERERENCE OF ROMAN CATHOLIC HOSPITAL
CHAPLAINCY IN GERMANY I am member of the managing committee.
At the same time I am the representative for hospice in the
German Caritas Association in Freiburg.
Legislation regarding “Hospital Chaplaincy” in Germany
Hospital chaplaincy (pastoral care in hospitals) in
Germany is legally regulated and accepted. It is guaranteed
by law in non-profit (ecclesiastical or charity
organisations as supporters), in public and private
hospitals (basic law art. 140, in link with art. 141 of the
“Weimarer Verfassung”). This legal approach of the churches
is according to the legal claim of the citizens for free
religious practice (basic law art. 4, p. 2). With these
legal foundations not only the practice of pastoral care is
guaranteed but also the discharge of all claims which are
necessary for delivery (e.g. making available suitable rooms
for pastoral care conversations and divine services).
These laws and their consequences explicitly apply to the public hospitals (the hospitals under the authority of the state and communal hospitals). For the private hospitals, this claim also applies.. Ecclesiastical hospitals increase the legal scope by making clear the meaning of hospital chaplaincy as a characteristic part of their organisation and trying to rise to this demand.
Doing his work in the hospital each pastoral caretaker is bound by the relevant valid data protection laws of the Federal Government and its counties, to ecclesiastical data protection, to the area-specific data protection regulation as well as to the official professional discretion and he is protected from third person due to the official secret.
Because of the significance of hospital pastoral care it is especially important that the hospital management, medical directors and ward nurses, and as many as possible members of the hospital staff are informed about the aims, contents and the practice of pastoral care. Hospital pastoral care should be a part of educational training and further training, and exchange of experiences should take place between the staff of the hospital and the pastoral caretakers. The best way to get knowledge of hospital chaplaincy is by experiencing the work of hospital chaplaincy in person. Furthermore it is necessary that the pastoral caretaker is regularly present in the wards and through his work in the hospital.
The responsible person for hospital chaplaincy – either the manager of a team or the parish clergyman – is responsible for making arrangements to get pastoral caretakers in his absence. Changes in the staff of hospital chaplaincy often burden those people being concerned: Who will be able to do this important pastoral tasks in a suitable way?
(in: The German Bishops no 60, The concern of the church for the sick, April 20th, 1998, 34 and 35)
Conference of Roman Catholic Hospital Chaplaincy
Konferenz Katholische Krankenhausseelsorge in Deutschland
Pater Dr Manfred Entrich
Head of the Department Pastoral Care
of the German Bishops´ Conference
Dr Hans-Gerd Angel
Sekretariat der Deutschen Bischofskonferenz
Katholischer Krankenhausverbad Deutschlands
Katholischer Krankenhausverbad Deutschlands
Website: www.caritas.de www.kkvd.de
Greece's representatives (Debrecen 2016)
Health Care Chaplaincy in the Orthodox Church of Greece
In 2010 the Pastoral Training Foundation was established
in the Holy Archdiocese of Athens under the aegis and active
Chairmanship of HB Leronymos, Archbishop of Athens and All
Greece. This new service, whose main task is "to shepherd
the shepherds", "aims at the training, the education, the
edification, the pastoral specialization and lifelong
learning of the clergy, both of those to be ordained and
those in office, as well as of the lay staff of the Holy
Archdiocese of Athens”
(Government Gazette no. B 1011/28.05.2009). Father Adamantios Avgoustidis was rightly appointed its Director General, as it was he who suggested and set up this initiative in the first place.
Within this formal framework, during last term, covering the first months of experimental operation of the Foundation, lectures were given on topics such as Ecclesiastical Administration, Voluntary Ministration to Patients, Catechetics, Exomology (Holy Confession), Kerygma - Homiletics, Support and Training of Lay Staff of Pastoral Work, Hospital Chaplaincy and Pastoral Care for Special Issues, whereas new subjects are expected to enrich this programme in the forthcoming term. After the successful completion of the first term, as proven by the satisfactory attendance and the genuine interest of attendees in the lectures and discussions offered, the plan now is to lay increasing emphasis not only on the pastoral and theological aspects but on the practical component of the courses, particularly of those pertaining to and supporting the difficult task of chaplaincy in Greece.
It was thus soon realized by all those involved that the Pastoral Training Foundation provided the ideal ground for the coordination, supervision and reinvigoration of healthcare chaplaincy, since it came to be not merely the new meeting point and centre of reference of hospital chaplains (initially those based in Athens and referring to the Archdiocese) but also a reliable organization which they could confidently turn to for both spiritual and practical support, training and updated information; and, most importantly, an exciting forum for the exchange of their unique experiences and insights, as well as for the expression of views, proposals and new ideas. Furthermore, chaplains were happy to find that this new organisation was receptive to and even encouraged their constructive feedback, thus contributing to the "bottom up" approach adopted by the present Archbishop, namely one that works from the grassroots, from the large number of clergy and laity working together, causing a decision to arise from their joint involvement, a decision that will be tailored, as much as possible, to their own needs as our brethren express them.
In addition, over the last years we run a Programme of Voluntary Ministration to Patients (around 350 volunteers) which operates within the framework of the Holy Archdiocese of Athens and in close co-operation with the Pastoral Training Foundation. Its task is to provide companionship, care and nourishment to patients, keeping the best possible safety standards for them, for healthcare areas, the volunteers and the patients s families. Volunteers work under the close supervision and support of our social workers and of healthcare services. As regards our cooperation with hospitals, they do not act in an independent manner. They offer voluntary services only upon request from the Healthcare Services concerned. Each time they are invited to care for a new patient, our social workers pay him or her a visit and, in collaboration with the healthcare staff, re-evaluate the case and integrate it in our services. The Hospital then receives a detailed daily report showing the volunteers’ names, time scheduling, clinics and patients’ names.
Representative of the Church of Greece to the ENHCC:
Rev. Dr Adamantios G Avgoustidis,MD, PhD, Psychiatrist,
Theologian, elected as associate Professor at the University
of Athens and priest (protopresbyter) in the Orthodox
Christian Church of Greece.
Fr Adamantios served as the Director of the "Psychiatric and Pastoral Care Service" of the Centre for Mental Health (C.M.H.) of Athens, Supervisor of a Deinstitutionalization program for long-term and severe institutionalized mental patients ("Boarding House Unit of Levadia"- a rehabilitation program for chronic psychotic patients) and of the National “Foster Families Program” of the C.M.H. Presently, and later as member of the Board of Directors of the C.M.H. He is Associate Professor of Psychology, Psychiatry and Pastoral Theology at the School of Theology at the University of Athens. He had been the president of "European Council for Pastoral Care and Counseling" (ECPCC) and now member of its Steering Committee. Apart from his academic position, he is the General Director of the "Pastoral Training Foundation" of the Holy Archdiocese of Athens, Greece. Among other activities, the foundation offers training and supervision to the hospital chaplains of the Archdiocese. He is also a member of the synodal committee for pastoral care issues, working on a global proposal for the renovation of hospital chaplaincy in Greece.
The Orthodox Church of Greece
Rev. Dr Prof Adamantios G Avgoustidis
Lector, University of Athens.
23, Athinas str
Health Care Chaplaincy in Hungary
Since the beginning of the 1990s the Reformed (Calvinist),
the Roman Catholic, the
Lutheran and the Greek Catholic hospital chaplaincy has been improving in Hungary;
not only in the church service but also in the state care institution. It seems to be a
slow process: from the recognising of the need to the full cooperation.
Health Care Chaplaincy of the Hungarian Reformed (Calvinist) Church
Although there are centuries old traditions of pastoral care among the sick – spiritual
care was prohibited or illegal for 40 years in Hungarian hospitals. After 1990, when
the hospital doors opened up again to church services, numbers gave a warm
welcome. At that time parish leaders reorganized hospital worship all over the
country. Later full and part time chaplains started their counselling and service. Their
number has been increasing ever since... Establishing pastoral care and counselling
in the health care system is not an easy and rapid process. Pastoral psychological
education, training programs for chaplains and supervision successfully helped our
"construction". Recently as the whole health care system has been changing in
Hungary - there are 42 Reformed (Calvinist) chaplains in 36 cities. We try to work in
ecumenical teams. Hospital Chaplaincy officially belongs to the Hunagrian Reformed Church Aid.
The present structure of our services:
Since 2019 the state financing the grant for chaplaincy but the coordination of the
church. It also means to take steps of standardized protokoll.
Pastoral care in our health care system means:
- Spiritual care, counselling patients, family members and staff.
- Participation in institutional work as an ethical and spiritual care provider.
- Cooperation with other churches, as well as civil organisations.
Our plan for the future
- Improving professional pastoral care – we would like to demonstrate and emphasise its effect on care giving in hospitals and the congregations.
- Pastoral care for hospital staff as an essential part of the institution (for example: burn out prevention)
- Strengthen the volunteers' work for visiting the sick – in hospitals and congregations
- Raising interest of theological students for chaplaincy
Rev. Judit Gál
Judit Gál is a Reformed Church minister. Since 1993 she has worked as a chaplain in a state hospital. She studied Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) in Atlanta, USA (1995-97) and graduated in Pastoral phsychology at the University of Debrecen. In 2000 she received a commission from her church Synod to be the coordinator, leader of the hospital chaplaincy in her church. Her tasks include: organising meetings, helping to establish new positions, joining forces with chaplains, increasing collaboration with the Hungarian chaplains in the Carpathian basin. She has supervised students of theology in hospital practice and is an active volunteer group work organiser. Judit first attended the 11th Consultation in London in 2010. The 14th Consultation was held in Debrecen (Hungary) – in 2016.
Reformed Church, Hungary
Rev Judit Gál
Health Care Chaplaincy
Health Care Chaplaincy in Iceland
Hospital chaplaincy has been growing in Iceland the past few decades. The fundamental work and the basis of hospital chaplaincy is situated within Landspitali - The National University Hospital of Iceland. Landspitali is the largest hospital in Iceland, located in the capital Reykjavik, serving both the local community as well as being an advanced referral institution for the whole country. The hospital provides both specialised and general care and offers diverse clinical services, inpatient wards, critical care units, outpatient clinics, day patient units, clinical laboratories and other divisions. The capacity of the hospital is approximately 700 beds. The role of Landspitali has been defined as being first and foremost service to the patients, teaching and training of clinical staff and scientific research. The purpose is to provide highest quality health service in Iceland with emphasis on compassion, progress, safety and professionalism.
The chaplains on staff in our Department of Pastoral and Spiritual Care are all but one employed by the institution itself. Most of the staff have their religious affiliation to the State Church, The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Iceland (ELCI) which further provides for the position that is not directly employed by the hospital itself and supports the department. The Chaplains on staff do hold either full Seminary Master ́s degrees or degrees in Diaconia and are required to have completed Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) or equivalent education in Pastoral Care, Family Therapy and or other Counseling.
The department of Pastoral and Spiritual Care is well
integrated into the daily routine of the
hospital with chaplains being assigned to all patient wards and providing full on-call services
for the institution. Pastoral and Spiritual Care is offered and provided to patients, relatives and health care staff. Support is provided to those who have severe difficulties because of losses, due to failing health, accidents, dying and sudden death etc. Spiritual and/or pastoral support is given to people (patients, families and staff) who are dealing with crisis, stress and spiritual and existential distress. A special service at deathbed is provided and other services are also offered such as memorial services, baptism, wedding, morning and contemplative services and services on church holidays and over the weekends.
The educational element of the work is considered a very important part of our services. Our staff teaches Pastoral and Spiritual Care at the University of Iceland through The Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies and the University ́s Department of Continued Education. In addition, hospital chaplains participate in various educational programmes for health care disciplines both locally at Landspitali and abroad through international ties and organisations.
Our chaplains are further active on community level through various patient organisations, bereavement or mental health associations to name few examples. The hospital favours teamwork and our chaplains are an integral part of various teams at Landspitali representing the pastoral and spiritual dimension in their work with other health care professionals.
On a national level the State Church, (ELCI) provides
specialised ministry, chaplaincy to prisoners, immigrants
and disabled and deaf people (five chaplains). There are two
chaplains employed at nursing homes in Reykjavik but for the
most part the local ministers of the State Church provide
pastoral and spiritual service at nursing homes in their
Dr. Guðlaug Helga Ásgeirsdóttir, The State Church Hospital Chaplain, Department of
Pastoral and Spiritual Care, Landspitali – The National University Hospital of Iceland
Rev. Gunnar Rúnar Matthíasson, Director, Department
of Pastoral and Spiritual Care,
Landspitali – The National University Hospital of Iceland
Pat O’Donovan and Maureen Mc Cabe
Health Care Chaplaincy in Ireland
Healthcare Chaplaincy Board
The Healthcare Chaplaincy Board is a sub committe of the
Council for Healthcare, which is a Council of the Irish’s
Bishop’s Conference, (established 2013). Details of the HCB
are available on: https://www.catholicbishops.ie/work/pastoral/
Fr. John Kelly is the Chairperson and Sr. Pat O’Donovan is the secretary of the Healthcare Chaplaincy Board (HCB).
Fr. John Kelly
Director of Pastoral Care
Tallaght University Hospital
Pat O'Donovan, RSM
Council for Healthcare
Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference Secretariat
Co. Kildare W23 P6D3
Chaplaincy Accreditation Board
The Chaplaincy Accreditation Board (CAB) is a professional accreditation body for Healthcare Chaplains operating in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. It provides healthcare chaplaincy accreditation, registration and ongoing training and support for healthcare chaplains. The Chaplaincy Accreditation Board was established by the House of Bishops of the Church of Ireland and accredits eligible chaplaincy candidates from the Church of Ireland (Anglican/Episcopalian) and other faith/ philosophical groups following appropriate endorsement by the applicant’s faith/ philosophical group. Chaplaincy Accreditation standards can be accessed here: http://ireland.anglican.org/cmsfiles/pdf/Information/Resources/hob/2014.003.pdf
The Chaplaincy Accreditation Board may be contacted by emailing:
Bruce Pierce, Chairperson
Daniel Nuzum, Secretary
Postal address: Northridge House, St Luke’s Home, Mahon, Cork, Ireland
National Association of Healthcare Chaplains
PO Box 10858
15 Griffeen Glen Drive
Valerie Stessin (Blankenberge 2018)
Association for Spiritual Care in Israel
The profession of spiritual care in Israel has only
recently begun, yet it is developing quickly with a strong
Today (2016) there are 60 certified spiritual caregivers (in a country with over 8 million citizens). Four training programs have been accredited to train new spiritual caregivers. The profession is not yet officially recognized by the government, and we are far from full integration of spiritual care into hospitals, nursing homes, hospice, and other relevant institutions. Given that reality, the Association was established with a mandate for advancing the profession, promoting more widespread public awareness of spiritual care, ensuring a high professional standard for training in spiritual care, and examining graduates to determine if they should receive professional certification. Our vision is to bring about a new reality, one in which patients in every hospital and residents in every nursing home can receive spiritual care from certified professionals, throughout the country. We are working to advance legal recognition and regulation of the profession on the governmental level, to further the integration of spiritual care within relevant institutions, to grow the employment opportunities for spiritual caregivers, and to reach those people who could use spiritual care in different periods of their lives.
The Association is manned by volunteers, including the executive board, and a paid director. The association has several standing committees to advance key areas, including the Profession committee, Ethics, and Continuing Education.
The Association hold professional seminars for its members several times a year, and their first conference was entitled "Spirituality: An Element of Health." (21.3.2017)
The association endeavors:
o To leverage the development and expansion of spiritual care services in Israel, and to ensure that those services are available, accessible, and high-quality.
o To develop the foundation for joint efforts with relevant government bodies, health funds, hospitals, nursing facilities, educational facilities, welfare services, and others.
o To raise awareness of spiritual care among health care and welfare professionals, and to expand the integration of spiritual caregivers into the multidisciplinary staff.
o To oversee and develop the infrastructure for training spiritual caregivers and to ensure continuous quality improvement in training and continuing education.
o To raise public awareness of the service and of their right to receive it.
o To expand research efforts and apply research findings in the field.
Dina Herz (representative)
She was borne in Basel, Switzerland, and moved to Israel 34 years ago. For the last 25 years she has been working as a simultaneous interpreter in German, Hebrew and English, working mostly with German dignitaries visiting Israel. In 2011 she decided to be trained in spiritual care, a very new field in Israel, which always interested her and became available as professional training around 2007. Since then she has worked in an Old age home, a geriatric department in a hospital, and for the last 2 years in the Bone Marrow Transplant unit at Hadassah University Hospital in Jerusalem, Israel, where she works with people of all ages, religions, backgrounds and languages.
She is completing her first year of being trained as an educator in the field of spiritual care in order to teach students being trained in the field and serve as supervisor.
In addition she works in a joint program of the Israeli Ministry of Welfare and the Joint Distribution Committee giving support to people who have lost a close relative through a violent death, which includes murder, suicide and car accidents. She also lectures in conferences,such as "Healing Hatred, Spiritual inter-faith Challenges in a environment of political conflict", organized by the "International Association of Spiritual Care", and the "Rossing Center for Education and Dialogue", July 2017, and she recently published a chapter about spiritual care in Israel in a book called "Accompanying the Sick und Dying in Judaism", which was published 2017 in German as part of a conference, where she lectured.
She is married and she has three children and she and her family live in Jerusalem.
Fr Germano Policante (Mennorode 2012)
Health Care Chaplancy in Italy
My name is Angelo Brusco. I am a catholic priest, belonging to a religious Order, The Servants of the Sick, which is present in 34 countries. I have spent 10 years in Canada (Québec) and 2 in the USA. In Canada and in the USA I had the opportunity to receive my education, earning degrees in psychology, theology and becoming supervisor in clinical pastoral education (CPE). I also practiced pastoral ministry in a general hospital in Québec City for 9 years, teaching CPE.
Back to Italy, I founded a Pastoral Institute in Verona. In 1989 I was elected Superior General of my Order for 12 years.
After that, I returned to Verona, where I now direct the Pastoral Institute "Centro Camilliano di Formazione", continuing my teaching in Rome, as a professor of pastoral psychology in the International Institute of Healthcare Pastoral Theology, "Camillianum" and of Pastoral theology of health care in the Faculty of theology in Padova.
I am involved in the life and activity of the Association, AIPAS (Italian Association of Health Care Ministry), which gathers all those who are doing chaplaincy work in health care institutions and publishes the magazine, "Insieme per servire".
Health Care chaplaincy in Italy
Health Care chaplaincy in Italy has a long and good
There is a very active National Office for the pastoral health care, in Rome, and an Italian Association of Health Care Ministry (AIPAS), started in 1987, which publishes a quarterly magazine: “Insieme per servire” (Together to serve).
The status of chaplain is recognized both by the Church and government. Chaplains – all priests - are authorised by the bishops and appointed by the administrations of the health care institutions. The economic treatment is satisfactory.
There is an effort to include deacons, sisters and lay people in chaplaincy; the results are good. In some regions and dioceses there are chaplaincy teams, formed by priests, sisters and lay people. In some of them, the sisters and lay people are paid by the administrations, in the others the non-ordained people work on a voluntary basis.
During the last 20 years, an important step forward has been taken in the area of formation. In Rome, there is an academic Institution, the "Camillianum", specialising in the area of health care ministry, with programmes at master and doctorate level. At a non-academic level there are many Pastoral Institutes.
A challenge – which is an opportunity of growth – is the ecumenical and inter-religious dialogue.
Fr Dr Angelo Brusco
Director of Centro Camilliano di Formazione, Verona
Associazione Italiana di Pastorale della Salute
Fr Dr Angelo Brusco
Director of Centro Camilliano di Formazione
Via C C Bresciani 2
Αndreta Livena, Dace Soldane (Blankenberge 2018)
Association of Professional Health Care Chaplaincy in Latvia (LPVAKA)
Association of Professional Health Care Chaplaincy
(Latvijas Profesionālo veselības aprūpes kapelānu asociācija
- LPVAKA) was founded in 2005. Its mission is to develop an
open system for interdenominational and interfaith dialogue,
which educates, trains and certifies spiritual care-givers
in different health care settings. From the beginning LPVAKA
has also taken the initiative to educate society and
especially the medical community about relevant issues
regarding spiritual dimension of health care, human rights,
bioethics, end-of-life and palliative care, etc.
There are about 20 hospital chaplains in Latvia, and all employed chaplains are paid by hospitals. Not all working chaplains are members of the Association. The number of the membership of the Association has been constantly changing since its foundation, mainly because of the rather high requirements the Association demands from its members.
Approximately two thirds of all working chaplains have completed clinical training in Latvia based on principles of CPE in USA. One of the main challenges is lack of qualified supervision for working chaplains. We are trying to solve it through collegiate supervisions and holding monthly workshops where we analyse our own verbatims and prepare different relevant presentations ourselves as well as we can, also inviting experts from different disciplines – nurses, physicians, psychologists, theologians, etc. These monthly seminars also contribute towards continuous education requirements that chaplains need to fulfill each year.
Health care chaplaincy is incorporated also in the Latvian national legislation. According to the Regulation of the Cabinet of Ministers on Chaplaincy Service, chaplains provide the realization of each person’s right to freedom of religion. This regulations also defines profesional health care chaplain as full members of medical care team. National Law of Patients’ Rights includes a special paragraph, which gives every patient the right to spiritual care provided by a health care chaplain.
Webpage (in Latvian): https://kapelani.lv/
Healthcare Chaplaincy in Luxembourg
Luxembourg is a small country of 2,586.4 square kilometers;
as a neighbor-country of
France, Germany and Belgium, “tiny” Luxembourg has established itself as an important
economic partner within Europe and has developed business connections all over the world.
We encounter numerous cultures and traditions in Luxembourg as 47% of the 645,000
inhabitants of the country are foreigners coming from 170 different nations. Some 197,000
employees cross the border regularly to work in Luxembourg. In a particular parish, you may
have between 25 and 70 different nationalities represented.
Luxembourg has always been characterized by its Catholic
traditions. Both the city of
Luxembourg and the country have chosen Mary, the Consolatrix afflictorum, as their patron
saint. From the third to the fifth week after Easter, we celebrate the “Octave”-pilgrimage to
Mary in the Cathedral in Luxembourg city and in the chapel in Girsterklaus. After two years
of more or less “virtual” pilgrimage during the pandemic, the year 2022 saw the renewal of
face-to-face celebrations. Another beloved tradition is the dancing or hopping procession in
honor of Saint Willibrord, an Anglo-Saxon/Irish monk who brought the Christian faith to the
region of Echternach in the 8 th century. Saint Willibrord is the second patron of Luxembourg.
His tomb is in the crypt of the Basilica in Echternach and he is thus the only saint to be
buried in Luxembourg.
The separation of State and Church seven years ago and the
pandemic requires that we seek
creative ways of living our faith with those who need particular care in times of sorrow,
illness, anguish, war…
The Pastoral Health Care Ministry (Pastorale de la santé)
is a service provided by the Catholic
Church of Luxembourg; only one hospital in the country has developed its own center of
pastoral care. The “Pastoral Health Care Teams” consist of priests, pastoral assistants,
members of religious orders and volunteers, active in every hospital and most of the Care
and Nursing Homes for Senior Citizens in Luxembourg. This service takes account of
Luxembourg’s multicultural context and works together with other confessions and religions.
Ongoing training, further education for chaplains, introductory programs for volunteers,
supervision and support are just a few of the Church’s activities in this field.
Luxembourg’s Delegate to the ENHCC
Josiane Osborne-Mirkes is the coordinator of the diocesan Pastoral Health Care Ministry
(Pastorale de la Santé) since September 2021.
She is married, and both mother and grandmother
Active in the parish level pastoral ministry since 1991, she received training in hospital
pastoral care in Heidelberg (2013) and was a hospital chaplain in Luxembourg city (2013-
Professional clinical chaplains:
Laurent Dhaussy and Maria Madalena Santos (Centre hospitalier de Luxembourg)
Marc Hubert and Cindy Fuhr (Centre hospitalier du Nord)
Père Hervé Pierre Guillot and Martine Regenwetter (Centre hospitalier Emile Mayrisch)
Marie-France Bemtgen-Jost and Pascale Fautsch-Demuth (Hôpitaux Robert Schuman)
Health Care Chaplaincy in Malta
The Health Care Chaplaincy in Malta is the responsibility of the Catholic Archdiocese of Malta with a regular contract of work with the Government of Malta committed to provide Chaplains in 4 Hospitals. Presently we are a group of 11 Chaplains and in the process of organizing ourselves as a team. The co-ordinator is Rev Rene' Camilleri, Chaplain at Mater Dei Hospital.
Rev Rene Camilleri
Simon Evers, Nico van der Leer, Jannet Delver, Francine Wildenborg, Wim Smeets, Hans Evers (Blankenberge 2018)
Health Care Chaplaincy in the Netherlands
DUTCH ASSOCIATION OF SPIRITUAL CAREGIVERS IN HEALTH
CARE INSTITUTIONS (VGVZ)
The Association of Spiritual Caregivers in Healthcare Institutions (Vereniging van Geestelijk Verzorgers in Zorginstellingen: de VGVZ) is a professional body for spiritual caregivers working in healthcare in the Netherlands.
Spiritual care/chaplaincy in healthcare institutions is the professional and ministerial support and help given to patients, by helping them to give meaning to their life, based on their belief or ideological conviction and by giving professional advice in ethical and/or ideological care and management.
The Association of Spiritual Caregivers was founded in 1971 when the Roman Catholic and the Protestant Hospital Associations joined into a National Council of Hospitals. In line with this development, being aware that chaplaincy services belong to all kinds of hospitals, the non-denominational as well as the denominational, the Roman Catholic and the Protestant Associations of Chaplains in Healthcare Institutes united into one association. Several years later the Humanist and the Jewish chaplains joined the association. A few years ago Imams and Pundits, active as spiritual caregivers in healthcare, also became members of the association. From the beginning the association worked on developing the quality of the profession of spiritual caregiver. The Association is in active contact with the government, employer-organizations, churches and other denominational-institutes, insurance-companies and patient organizations. Spiritual care has for many years been integrated into the central budget financing system of the national care insurance companies. In 1995 spiritual care was given legal status in the Quality Law for Healthcare Institutes. In 1995 and in 2002 the groups mentioned above agreed on The Professional Standards of Spiritual Care in Healthcare Organizations www.vgvz.nl/userfiles/files/Professional%20Standard%20Spiritual%20Counsellors%202005.pdfThe standards contain a profession profile, description of the tasks and the quality demands and the professional code. In 2007 a new registration system was developed.
The VGVZ counts about 945 members (April 2014). A spiritual caregiver can become a member
- when he/she is working in a healthcare institute for a minimum of 8 hours per week;
- when he/she has an master’s degree in theology, religious science or in humanistic science;
- when he/she has a commitment to a church or an ideological society or an authorization bij the Council that verifies the spiritual competence.
The association consists of seven sections: Roman Catholic,
Protestant, Humanist, Jewish, Islamic, Hindu and
non-aligned; and seven working-fields: general hospitals,
psychiatric institutes, nursing homes and homes for the
elderly, institutions for the mentally disabled,
rehabilitation centers, youth care and primary care. A
member belongs to one section and one working-field. Each
section and working-field has its own council and provides a
delegate for the general board, which looks after the common
interests of spiritual care (see Objectives). The sections
and working-fields support the special interests related to
the different churches, ideological organizations and
The most important objective of the VGVZ is to promote and support spiritual care in healthcare. Therefore the Association supports:
- the integration of spiritual care in healthcare
- the development of the quality of spiritual care
- professional training for spiritual caregivers
- problem solving in the field of labour relations
- collective labour conditions
The VGVZ realizes its objectives through:
- the organization of symposia and annual meetings;
- enabling scientific research;
- the development of standards and quality systems;
- the development of models for mutual contact among colleagues;
- installing committees for preparing policies on relevant issues;
- the publication of the Journal for Spiritual Care;
- enabling training for spiritual caregivers in contact with institutes for education;
- solving problems concerning labor relations;
- working on collective employment conditions together with the Union (FBZ).
The association is autonomous and maintains a wide field of relations. There are many contacts with other organizations in the specific groups (see History). There are contacts with academic and post-academic institutes for education. There are international contacts with the European Network of Health Care Chaplaincy and other professional associations for healthcare chaplaincy (England, USA).
Important issues for the future
- to develop spiritual care in extramural healthcare settings;
- to implement the Professional Register;
- to further develop models for quality-testing systems and mutual contact;
- to keep in touch with development of healthcare in the Netherlands on the national level in all its different aspects;
- to improve the structure of our organization;
- to evaluate the commitment to a church or an ideological society or the spiritual competence (see Structure) as prescribed for membership of the VGVZ;
- to improve and research the financial position of spiritual caregivers in contact with the government;
- integration in the primary care.
Simon Evers has been the president of VGVZ since June 7th, 2010.
He was born in 1959 and active as chaplain in the Onze Lieve Vrouwe Gasthuis (Amsterdam – www.olvg.nl ) since 1996. From 1979 until 2001 he was a Benedictine of the St Andrew's Abbey in Bruges (Belgium) and there he was ordained a priest in 1988. He is now a priest of the Diocese Haarlem-Amsterdam.
He studied theology in Bruges and Rome. His hobbies are organizing and conducting trips, especially to Rome and Italy, to go hiking and listening to classical music.
Håvard Ervik (Blankenberge 2018)
Health Care Chaplaincy in Norway
Norwegian representation in ENHCC
Norwegian health care chaplains are employed and organized by the hospital or nursing home where they work. There is no coordinating instance apart from the “Norwegian Association of Clergy” (Presteforeningen) that works for better salary and working conditions and also has a strong focus on, and organize, study programs for the pastors. Most chaplains are organized in this union, but not all. A committee of five chaplains is elected by the members to represent them. This committee works with such as professional qualifications and best practice for health care chaplains apart from better salary and working conditions. The leader of this committee, who is elected for two years, is sent to represent at the ENHCC consultations.
Health Care Chaplaincy in Norway
The chaplains are almost exclusively ordained pastors in
the Church of Norway (Lutheran). They are employed by the
hospitals and are regarded as one of the hospitals’ many
professional services to the patients, their families and
the hospital staff. As ordained pastors in our church, they
deliver pastoral care to the spiritual needs within the
hospital setting. Employed by the hospital, they also work
within the hospital organization with the same rights and
duties as other employees. There are approximately 130
chaplains, full-time or part-time, working in hospitals.
There are also some healthcare chaplains employed outside
the hospitals, serving patients in nursing homes or in the
To be a chaplain you must fill the requirements for ordination in the Church of Norway. One must also have at least one unit of CPE (3 months clinical training and education under supervision) or a similar education. A speciality (after model of psychologists) for hospital chaplains has been established on a university level. Requirements (1 year of studies gives 60 study points):
1) CPE or a similar education (20 stps).
2) Pastoral studies connected to institutional work (20 stps) including 20 pages written. A special course for hospital chaplains is established to meet this requirement.
3) Studies in health-related subjects such as grief, psychiatry and addiction (30 stps).
4) Supervision on own job (minumum 120 hours).
Specialization is central in specialist health care, and we
see this program as strengthening our position in the
healthcare system. There is little tradition for research
among the health care chaplains, but some have done their
PhD. The journal for pastoral care, “Tidsskrift for
Sjelesorg”, is a good place to publicize scientific and
Our hospitals seem to recognize the importance of pastoral care, and health care chaplains have a natural place for example in palliative teams and ethical committees in all hospitals of a certain size. There is, however, a variety in how the hospitals provide this care. Some hospitals have only part-time chaplains, or they use ministers from the local church, while on the other hand there are medium-sized hospitals with several ministers employed.
Present in Salzburg 2014: Ingebrigt Røen and Ståle Arne Vansvik
Present in Debrecen 2016: Håvard Ervik
Molde Hospital, Parkvegen 84, 6412 Molde, Norway
Pastoral Union (Presteforeningen)
Web Site: www.prestefor.no
Rev Piotr Krakowiak
Health Care Chaplaincy in Poland
Catholic Chaplaincy for Health Care in Poland
Since 1981 as a result of the Solidarity Movement in Poland
and with political support from the Ministry of Health and
Social Care, the work of Chaplaincy was accepted. Chaplains
were officially recognised after many years and allowed to
practice in Health Care institutions. From 1989 Catholic
hospitals and other centres of Care have been returned to
the Religious Orders and the national organisation Caritas
Poland was founded. Subsequently, the entire structure of
the Catholic pastoral service for Health Care institutions
has been renewed and re-established.
The Catholic Chaplaincy for Health Care in Poland is the responsibility of the Bishop appointed as Head of the National Board for Health Care Chaplaincy. This organisation comprises of the appointed National Chaplains for Health Care and members from the Catholic Associations of doctors, nurses, pharmacists, chaplains and other medical professions as well as volunteers. Today there is more than 500 priests (diocesan and Religious) working full time in Health Care as hospital and hospice chaplains. There are also many other priests who work on a voluntary basis. The involvement of women Religious and lay-people in Pastoral Teams is evident only within a few leading Health Care centres. However, the number of dioceses which involve the lay extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist to visit the sick is increasing.
There are several different academic opportunities offering post-graduate university programmes for Chaplaincy Studies, these include: KUL University in Lublin (hospital, hospice chaplaincy); John Paul II University of Krakow (bioethics studies; post-graduate studies for Health Care and Social Care Chaplaincy) and USKW University in Warsaw (bioethics studies).
The structure of the National Chaplaincy for Health Care in Poland comprises of appointed priests responsible for this pastoral work across 44 dioceses. Their role is to co-ordinate chaplains working within the different Health Care and Social Service structures. As well as responding to, and meeting the specific needs of patients and their families, some are also appointed as National chaplains to the handicapped; the deaf and dumb; the blind and for Hospice care. They are also responsible for Pastoral needs in Health Care including Health Care professionals and volunteers. Many of the pastoral activities of Health Care and Social care are supported by Caritas which co-ordinates the work of the charitable structures in every Catholic diocese.
Several events for promotion and awareness of Pastoral Care and Health Care have taken place, these include: The Worldwide Day for the Sick (11.02); celebrating the feast of the Patron Saint of Health Care St. Luke (18.10). Various initiatives have also been taken collaboratively within the Catholic Associations of Health Care workers for their colleagues in Health Care, for patients and for the wider society. In 2008 the Association of Catholic doctors organised and hosted the 11th European Conference for the Catholic Medical Associations. This took place in Gdansk with more than 600 participants from all over Europe.
The Catholic Chaplaincy for Health Care services in Poland is founded on both a theoretical and practical philosophy. The academic and theoretical understanding is evidenced through the many conferences, lectures and publications available. The practical application of this philosophy is evidenced by those dedicated workers in the hospital wards and hospices throughout Poland.
Further information about the Catholic Chaplaincy for Health Care in Poland is available at: www.kdsz.pl; www.caritas.pl; www.hospicja.pl; www.kapelania.eu
Rev. Piotr Krakowiak
I have beeninvolved with the Hospice Movement in Poland
since 1990. I was a hospice volunteer and then the hospice
chaplain after my ordination in 1993.
In 1994-1999 I was a post-graduate student in Rome Italy, working on the problems of interpersonal communication in the service of the Hospice Movement. I’ve studied also spiritual aspect of the Hospice and Palliative care.
In 1999-2000 I was doing doctoral research at Notre Dame University, South Bend, IN, USA. I was a voluntary chaplain in St. Joseph’s County Hospice and active participant in Grief & Bereavement Services in hospice in South Bend, IN.
In 2001 I concluded interdisciplinary doctoral research from psychology and theology: “The possibilities of application of CPE program for Hospice Movement and Health Care system in Poland”.
From 2002 I started the service as National Chaplain of Hospices in Poland – nomination by Catholic Bishop Conference of Poland (KEP), coordinating the non-medical and spiritual activities of more than 100 hospice-palliative care units in Poland.
I’m an author and co-author of scientific and popular publications regarding the end of life issues, and non-medical aspects of hospice and palliative care as well as social care at the end of life.
Rev Piotr Krakowiak
Rev Piotr Krakowiak
National Chaplain of Hospice Movement in Poland
Member of National Board for Health Care Chaplaincy in the Bishops' Conference in Poland
Pe Nuno (Tartu 2008)
Health Care Chaplaincy in Portugal
At this moment, the legislation concerning healthcare
chaplaincy is being revised. In this process of dialogue
between the Church and the Government, one of the references
is the Standards for Healthcare Chaplaincy in Europe
proposed by the ENHCC.
The National Coordination Board of the Hospital Chaplaincies is trying to guide the development of Healthcare Chaplaincies according to some fundamental guidelines:
A distinction between spiritual and religious dimensions and the conviction that these two dimensions belong to an anthropologically based concept of health without which there is no integral praxis of human healthcare.
The development of a new concept of Chaplaincy-Community, making the Church present near the patients.
The priority of a Pastoral of Presence, before all sacramental pastoral.
The search into ways of ecumenical and inter-religious dialogue and participation in the assistance of patients in the hospital.
The involvement with Healthcare Professionals and Students and their education regarding the respect to the spiritual and religious identity of the patients.
Integration and development of various expressions of voluntary service in pastoral work with the patients.
Integration of the specific work of the Chaplaincies in the global dynamic of Healthcare Pastoral.
José Nuno Ferreira da Silva
priest of Oporto Diocese since July 1989. Chaplain of the largest hospital of Oporto, the Hospital de S. João. It has about 1400 beds and includes the Medical School.
In 2003 he was appointed by the Portuguese Episcopal Conference to be the National Coordinator of the Hospital Chaplaincies of Portugal; also Diocesan Coordinator of Oporto.
Answering the pastoral requests of this Hospital, he completed a Master in Theological Bioethics at the Portuguese Catholic University and the Pontifical Master in Pastoral Healthcare at the International Institute of Pastoral Theology of Health Care of Rome, known as the Camillianum. Currently he is developing his studies in Bioethics.
He’s director of Medical Anthropology department, in Oporto University Public Health Care Institute.
Pe. José Nuno Ferreira da Silva
Coordenação Nacional Capelanias Hospitalares
Hospital S. João
Al. Professor Hernâni Monteiro
4202- 451 Porto
Gabriella-Ildikò Lakatos (Blankenberge 2018)
Health Care Chaplaincy in Romania
Rev. Gabriella-Ildiko, Lakatos
the Transylvanian Reformed Church Hospital Chaplaincy work
Since 1998 I was appointed by Bishop Kálmán,Csiha from Episcopate of
Transylvanian Reformed Churches Cluj (Romania) to work as a hospital chaplain.
From 2000 I was the first full time chaplain employed by hospital, and officially
appointed as a Reformed hospital chaplain by State Department for Health Care. The
chaplaincy works are exclusive by ordained pastors and paid and employed by the
hospitals, but much more depends on their vision about the spiritual needs of
patients or political vision. Until now there are just 6 hospital chaplains belonging to
Reformed Church in Transylvania, Romania, very few Catholic or Unitarian chaplains.
I must mention that these churches are Hungarian speaking churches, belonging to
minority ethnic groups.
Since 1998 I
was employed by County Mures Emergency Clinical Hospital. I
the Protestant Institute of Theology at Cluj (1990-1995), I was an assistant pastor for
2 years in a parish. In 1996 I was studying Pastoral Counseling at Belfast Bible College
and at Oxford through Keston Institute. Between 2002-2004 for 3 years, I studied for
a diploma at Semmelweis University at Budapest, Hungary, Mental Hygiene Institute
and I followed several courses at KLOE/ Ecumenical Health Care Association of
Pastoral Psychology, Clinical and Family Counseling studies at Budapest. I also spend
10 years working as a team leader with Bonus Pastor Foundation- working with
alcoholics, drug addicts and their families.
OUR PROGRAM AND TASKS:
- offering spiritual and religious services/Sunday worship,
- Bible study and prayer meetings for patients and staff.
- Holy communion services / private and holidays
- Good News Club for children and parents at Pediatric department
- Funerals and baptizing servises (occasional)
- visitation in warden rooms and private counseling
- home visits if it is the case
- volunteer works with students mainly
We have now a
better relation with other denominations and hospital staff
this years. We are celebrating the 11 February – official Patients’s Day together. We
are happy for the pretious opportunity to sharing also the Gospel for those in need
and who are open to it, in a way that helps them to realize that our hope is in Jesus
Christ only. We also have a large prayer group outside the Hospital who are willing to
support us in difficult cases.
Romania – Transylvania – Targu Mures, 540080
County Mures Emergency Clinical Hospital – Str. Mihai Viteazul Nr.50
Archdiocese of Bucharest
Romanian Orthodox Church
Rev Gabriel Cazacu
Executive Director, "St. Macrina" Shelter
14 Ilarie Chendi,
Hegumen Seraphim (Lisbon 2006)
The Department for Church Charity and Social Service
of the Russian Orthodox Church
The Department on Church Charity and Social Service of the Moscow Patriarchate was set up by the decision of His Holiness Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia and the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church. One of the main tasks of the DCCSS is to organize and develop diaconia service at a parish, diocesan and church level in general. The Department carries on its activity on the territory of the former Soviet Union (with the exception of Georgia).
The Department is actively involved in a number of programs and projects, such as:
1. Medical program:
1.1. Church hospital for 226 patients (till 2006 year);
1.2. Anti-alcoholic program worked out together with Trento diocese of the Catholic Church in Italy;
1.3. "Patronage service" (home visiting service for 180 aged people).
1.4. Project “Life” aimed at assisting women who refuse to have abortions.
1.5. “The Society of Orthodox Physicians of Russia” - a public organization established under the aegis of the Russian Orthodox Church in 2007 and consisting of orthodox physicians from 49 regions of the Russian Federation.
1.6. Support the church hospital in the city of Birobidzhan (2007) - USD5000.
2. Child care programs:
2.1. Boarding school for 80 children from difficult families;
2.2. Assistance to orphans and handicapped children through Charitable society of Saint Martyrs Kosma and Damian and International charitable center of Saint Serafim of Sarov;
2.3. Orthopedic workshop (ate Her) - production of artificial limbs and correction shoes for handicapped children;
2.4. Program "Chernobyl children" - diagnose and treatment of 837 children in Italy (1993-1998);
2.5. Project "Foot-wear for children" (shoes for orphans) in 11 regions of Russia (2000-2001) -USD24000;
2.6. Project "Hand of aid for children" (2004) - support of church orphanage and state Child Care homes in Saransk, Kostroma and Jaroslavl - USD17000;
2.7. Assistance to Children’s hospice in Saint Peterburg (2006) - USD10000.
2.8. Program “Children of Kola Peninsula” (the city of Murmansk) - support, professional training and teaching difficult teen-agers (2007) - USD30000.
2.9. Annual organization of Christmas and Easter parties in orphanages and Child Care homes.
3. Building of hospice for 24 persons.
4. Restoration of the church for handicapped persons.
5. Humanitarian aid to refugees, forced migrants and victims of natural disasters:
5.1 Joint project with International Orthodox Church Charities (IOCC) in Chechnya and
Ingushetia (1995-1997) of USD 1974000;
5.2 . Victims of the earthquake in Sakhalin island (1995);
5.3 Aid to forced migrants from Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tadjikistan, Moldova and Chechnya;
5.4. Aid to the victims of terrorist explosions in Moscow and Volgodonsk (1998) - USD3000;
5.5 Distribution of 60 tons of food among victims of the flood in Yakutia (2001) - USD67000;
5.6 Aid to the victims of the flood in Krasnodar region with the help of Renovabis(2002 r.) -
5.7 Medical and material aid to the victims of the terroristic act in the Moscow subway (2004) -
5.8. Aid to victims of military actions in Lebanon (2006) - USD44900.
5.9. Project “Children of Beslan” (2006) - USD30000.
6. Distribution of the humanitarian aid - food, cloths, foot-wear, medicine.
Thus together with IOCC the following items were distributed:
6.1. 7500 tons of food in 11 regions of Russia among 1,5 million people (1993-1994);
6.2. 90 tons of goods in Chechnya (1995-1996);
6.3. 53000 tons of food in 19 regions of Russia (1999-2002).
Total cost of the projects 6.1, 6.2 and 6.3 is exceed USD60 millions.
6.4. Project "Winter 2002" - distribution of blankets in social organizations of Barnaul,
Novosibirsk, Tomsk, Vologda, Saransk, Kostroma, Moscow and Chita regions. Department plan to
continue this project in Birobijan, Khabarovsk, Murmansk, Vladivostok, Sahalin Petropavlovsk-
Kamchatski regions. Total cost - USD200000.
6.5. Annual distribution of humanitarian aid (goods) among needy people - USD50-60000.
7. Projects of development:
7.1 Delivery of the equipment for mini-bakeries in Moscow and Kostroma regions and Mordovia republic (2002-2003) - USD 25000.
7.2 Equipment for workshops and computer-classes in Astrakhan and Velikiy Novgorod (2007) - USD30000.
8. During 8 years, within the framework of these long-term
projects, more than 90 people in 30 regions of the Russian
Federation have been provided for working and stable salary
Thus a number of the Department projects are supported by some Churches and ecumenical organizations from abroad - the World Council of Churches, the Lutheran World Federation, International Orthodox Church Charities, Action Churches, Together Episcopal Church in the USA The Society of St. Apostle Paul (Denmark) and others.
Humanitarian aid received by the Department is distributed among needy people without any reference to their religion convictions.
Administration of the Department
Head of the Department on Church Charity and Social Service of the Russian Orthodox Church : Sergei Metropolitan of Voronezh and Borisiglebsk.
Person in charge:
Hegumen Seraphim (Kravchenko),
Department for Church Charity and Social Service
of the Russian Orthodox Church.
Pastoral health care activity of the Russian Orthodox
Church in medical institutions in Russia
Health care chaplaincy for in-patients is developed on a wide scale in the Russian Orthodox Church in Russia. This activity is represented in two forms.
The first form consists in the following - priests visit patients in the hospitals appertained to the state. There are many Orthodox churches at the hospitals; some of them are in hospital premises, some are near hospitals. All regular orthodox services including the central one - Divine Liturgy are conducted in such churches. Furthermore the Sacraments of Baptism, Chrismation, Extreme Unction, Confession and the Eucharist are conducted as well. Priests conduct molebens (prayer services) for health and perform funeral services.
There are chapels or prayer-rooms in some hospitals. If there is neither church nor chapel a sick believer can invite a priest to his home.
In concordance with a hospital administration a priest visits in-patients, talks to them, renders spiritual and psychological support.
Together with priests volunteers come to hospitals and help in-patients to be ready to take Sacraments. Orthodox sisterhoods of charity (community of sisters of charity) are set up at some hospitals. Under the guidance of a priest and in concordance with a hospital administration sisters visit in-patient believers, carry on catechetical and social work. In some hospitals sisters of charity act as hospital nurses.
Such activity is set up in the best way in big cities. Thus in Moscow, the capital of Russia, there are about 40 hospital churches, 20 chapels and prayer-rooms in hospitals, about 10 sisterhoods of charity. As a whole 673 health care institutions of 25 dioceses of the Russian Orthodox Church are involved in such activity. Besides that priests have the wardship of 244 institutions for aged and invalids.
Pastoral care in hospitals embraces practically all medical spheres: therapy, surgery, oncology, neurology, obstetrics and gynaecology, paediatrics, hospice service and others.
It is characteristic for the first form of pastoral activity in hospitals that there is not enough finance to ensure this work, as it is been doing on a charitable basis and much depended on a hospital administration.
The second form of pastoral work with in-patients represents medical institutions established and financed by the Church. In Russia there are several church hospitals and the most large-scale of them are: The Central Clinic Hospital in the name of St. Alexiy, Metropolitan of Moscow, in Moscow and the Hospital in the name of Beatific Ksenia of Peterburg in the city of Saint Peterburg. These institutions are of a diversified type where believers (priests, monks and nuns among them) as well as non-believers (ordinary city-dwellers) can receive any free medical help. Obviously priests have more freedom in their pastoral activity with in-patients in such institutions.
Furthermore there are some orthodox institutions destined
to give help to people with drug or alcohol addiction. They
are usually named medical-social centers or brotherhoods of
Orthodox medical-educational centers aimed at prophylaxis of abortions work with women in a critical situation.
Charity societies, patronage service, alms-houses are set up by the Church to render assistance to aged and invalids. Among 537 church social institutions there are: 5 hospitals, 4 hospices, 21 social-medical stations, 21 alms-houses, 51 rehabilitation centers for addictions, 316 centers to help the deaf and blind, 15 centers to help AIDS infected, 70 medical advisory centers at some parishes, 34 charge nurse courses.
Thus, pastoral health care activity of the Russian Orthodox Church in Russia is been carried on widely and intensive. It is presented in different practical forms but it has essentially common substance - effective spiritual, psychological and social aid to suffering people.
Department of Church Charity and Social Service of the Moscow Patriarchate, Russian Orthodox Church
Hegumen Seraphim (Andrey Kravchenko)
Mgr Miriam Prásilová and Mgr Lýdia Naďová (Lisbon 2006)
Health Care Chaplaincy in Slovakia
ThDr. Miriam Prasilova
Evangelic Lutheran Church of Augsburg Confession in Slovakia
Hospital chaplaincy has not been organized by the
professional association of the country. Instead, pastoral
care has been part of the church’s ministry and the pastoral
visits are the duty of local pastors. Each church
congregation has the responsibility of the pastoral care for
their own people/ church members in hospital. The local
churches also offer their spiritual and pastoral care for
the hospitals and other social institutions in their area.
There are some pastors, though, who minister mainly in the
There are ethical meetings in the hospitals where they also need to have a pastor or theologian as a member. This person should be someone who is not employed by the hospital. That means the pastor comes to the ethical meeting from outside the hospital setting.
Chaplaincy in Roman catholic Church
There are about thirty priests in the biggest Roman Catholic Church who were assigned for the pastoral care in hospitals. Bishop Secka who is responsible for “pastoral care in health care system” in the Roman Catholic Church from the eastern part of Slovakia meets these priests twice a year and takes care ofr their formation. As he said the spiritual care in the hospitals is mainly sacramental. There are masses and providing the sacraments as required. The pastoral support, talks and visits take place in the patient’s room or many times in the corridors, in the waiting rooms, cafeterias as there is no special place for privacy with the patient.
There is one special aspect that is developed only in majority Roman Catholic church and that is pastoral care and the spiritual formation of the nurses and medical doctors. There are spiritual exercises offered to them periodically by the hospital chaplain.
There are also ethical meetings of physicians, nurses and priests working in the hospital in some places. As Bishop Secka mentions, the aim is not only pastoral care for patients, but also spiritual care for relatives, care for social surrounding, the interest in rights, changes in the health care system and many ethical problems.
Chaplaincy in Lutheran Church
In the second largest church in Slovakia - The Lutheran (Evangelic) Church - hospital chaplaincy has been covered by Evangelic (Lutheran) Diaconia from 2002 tio2012. There were two female pastors as pioneers in this field (Miriam and Lydia). During the last five years we taught a lot of seminars and presentations for theology students, pastors in congregations, for medical staff and we attended a number of conferences. We led the pilot project in educating the volunteers for the spiritual accompanying of the sick and dying at the Lutheran Diaconia. Our volunteers wrote a report about their learning and experiences.
Lydia has carried out CPE training in Pennsylvania and started as the chaplain in the Children’s oncology hospital in Bratislava. There has been an excellent ministry in cooperation with the medical staff. At the request of the parents Lydia provided for their need of the sanctuary in the main foyer of the hospital. After some changes in the church and reorganization, Lydia resigned from hospital chaplaincy at the Oncology hospital and has been the minister in a church congregation since 2007.
The other pioneer, Miriam, has accomplished her CPE training in Canada and started as the hospital chaplain at the University Hospital in Bratislava in 2003. Since 2006 she has ministered as a hospital chaplain in The National Oncology Institute and since 2009 has had a part position at the same hospital. There was a close cooperation with the psychologist in this hospital and the main pastoral interest has been focused in the palliative care unit. Since June 2012 Miriam has been a member of the ethics committee in the hospital and this membership continues even through she has been on sabbatical from pastoral ministry since August 2012.
Neither the oncology hospital nor any other hospital recognize CPE training for pastors or priests yet. As the hospitals have many other economic problems, they haven’t yet paid special attention to pastoral care and the standards of the spiritual care.
The Association of hospice and palliative care
There has been an Association of hospice and palliative care in Slovakia since 1989. The Association works in the areas to:
- cooperate on providing hospice and palliative care
- promote the ideas of hospice movement
- organize the meetings and seminars for providers of hospice care
- cooperate with medical and nurse professional boards
- support volunteers in the field of hospice and palliative care
- cover international cooperation
- work on legal codes and standards for providing hospital and palliative care
The association does a lot of work with standards for the providers of hospice and palliative care. The representatives of the association meet with those who provide pastoral care in the hospital at the conferences. We share ideas and visions.
Issues for the future
I see as an issue the need for making networks of all those who provide pastoral and spiritual care in the hospitals and share experiences, meet at seminars or conferences. The important thing is to encourage the discussion between church (or Evangelic Diaconia) and the hospital or the Ecumenical Council of Churches in Slovakia and The Ministry of Health for incorporating spiritual care in the treatment and the services in the hospitals.
From the notes of Roman Catholic Bishop Secka: "Celebrating the Day of the sick helps the understanding of the importance of pastoral care in the health care system. The hospital chaplaincy can not be only sacramental. We need to help broaden the understanding of this pastoral ministry in the hospital among priests and believers and emphasize the need for accompanying ill people. The sick person cannot stay alone. The important thing is to pay attention to families of patients and to motivate volunteers. It would be good to give information from the hospital chaplain to the local pastor about the discharged patient. There is the plan in the Roman Catholic. Church for further education and specialization in hospital chaplaincy."
There is the same goal to broaden understanding and supporting pastoral care in hospitals at the various levels. It is necessary to work more ecumenically and to motivate professionals for good cooperation.
Lutheran Church of Augsburg Confession in Slovakia
GBU (Bishop's Office)
Lutheran Church of AC
PO Box 289
811 06 Bratislava
Mgr Miriam Prásilová
Mgr Lýdia Naďová
Health Care Chaplaincy in Spain
Rev. Gerardo Dueñas
Rev. Gerardo Dueñas (Madrid, 1979) was ordained as a Roman Catholic Church deacon in May 2010 and belongs to the clergy of the Archdiocese of Madrid.
He was graduated as a Senior Industrial Engineer by the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM) as well as having enrolled up a degree in Religious Science in the Universidad Eclesiástica San Dámaso, becoming specialized in Sacred Liturgy.
Graduated in Psychology by the UNED, he also obtained the Master Degree in Counselling by the Universidad Ramón Llul in Barcelona.
In 2020, he got the Master Degree in Bioethics provided by the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos (Madrid). In fact, nowadays, he is carrying out the PhD in Bioethics, having as the main object of study the spiritual accompanying during the last days of this life in addition to the interest in patients with mental health troubles.
Since 2011, Gerardo has been the Coordinator Chaplain in the Mental Health Hospital named Dr. Rodríguez Lafora, belonging here to the Committee for the Humanization of Healthcare Attendance.
In 2015, Gerardo was named by the Archbishop of Madrid the new Episcopal Delegate Assistant of the Health Pastoral, belonging in the Spain Conference of Catholic Bishops (CEE) to the National Team of Health Care Pastoral. Furthermore, he is also the Coordinator of the Pastoral Commission in Mental Health corresponding to the CEE. It should be also necessary to mention that Gerardo also works as the personal assistance of HE Juan Antonio Martínez Camino, Auxiliary Bishop of Madrid.
As a remarkable fact, Gerardo develops his teaching practice in the Religion Subject for secondary students in Santa Ana and San Rafael School in Madrid.
Last but not least, Gerardo attended consultation in Crete in 2022, belonging so far to the Network Committee since October 2022, being then a representative of the ERICH.
Delegación Episcopal de Pastoral de la Salud.
Arzobispado de Madrid.
Bailén, 8. 28071 Madrid (Spain).
Departamento de Pastoral de la Salud.
Conferencia Episcopal Española.
Añastro, 1. 28033 Madrid (Spain).
Religious Support Services in Spain
Drawing Closer to Reality
It is not an easy task to provide an overview of the current circumstances of Religious Support Services in Spain, given that it would involve determining the situation of a vast number of people working in a wide range of hospitals.
Hospitals are of great importance in the field of pastoral health care and, right from the beginning, pastoral work in this field has devoted its effort, imagination and time to carrying out a restructuring of these services in hospitals. An example of the importance of hospitals is embodied in the "Framework agreement on Catholic religious support in public hospitals" between the Spanish government and the Spanish Bishops’ Conference, dated 24 July 1985, and on which the agreements with the individual Autonomous Communities are based. This regulation has established the legal foundations of religious support for public sector hospitals, thereby facilitating the provision of said support in favourable conditions. In order to bring this legal grounding to life and to ensure uniformity a document entitled "Religious support in hospitals. Pastoral guidelines" was published in 1987. This document is a compulsory reference document for pastoral work in hospitals.
Hospital chaplains have been the driving force behind the reorganisation of pastoral health care in the health field in the Spanish Church and in our individual churches. There are currently 950 chaplains providing religious assistance in Spanish hospitals: 650 as full-time chaplains and 300 working part-time.
This group contains some that connect with their task and have managed to integrate into the hospital environment. Others – not a small number – find themselves lost, ignored, hemmed in, or maybe even adjusted to the situation but not content, in a world that turns out to be hostile to them, without any coordination with all the other chaplains. Currently, no special training is required to work as a hospital chaplain, though the Bishops’ Conference does continuously organise training courses and refresher courses. The average age of chaplains is very high, which can, on occasions, hinder adaptation to the rapidly changing medical world. Of note here, is the appointment of competent lay-persons to perform the same tasks as hospital chaplains.
Improving the Church’s evangelisation work in hospitals seems to me to be an important and urgent task. I don’t know if it forms part of the perspective, but it would be good to raise the awareness of and instruct seminarists to promote the idea of using competent lay-persons, to provide hospitals with people possessing a vocation and capable of working in the hospital environment, with the enthusiasm to feel that they are to be shepherds of the hospital community, ministers of the Word and the sacraments and providers of counsel and the peace of the Lord (RU no. 57).
Let this European meeting of chaplains vocalize a song of
hope to those like us that provide pastoral care in these cathedrals
Miguel Angel Cruz Fernández
Licenciado en teología
Experto en Pastoral de la Salud por la escuela de los Camilos en Madrid.
Capellán de hospital desde el año 1989
Coordinador del Servicio Religioso del hospital
Delegado regional de Pastoral de la Salud de 1999-2005
Miembro del Equipo Nacional de Pastoral de la Salud 1999-2005
Swedish delegation at Crete in 2022
The Development of Hospital Chaplaincy in SwedenAs in many other countries in Europe, hospital chaplaincy has a long history. Until early 1960s it was all together a task of the Church of Sweden (The Lutheran church and until year 2000 the state church in Sweden). However, around 1960 a development starts that leads to the Hospital Chaplaincy that we see in Sweden today. From that time a number of clergymen in the Church of Sweden devoted themselves to Hospital Chaplaincy as a full time occupation.
Αudrey Kaelin, Ingrid Zurcher (Blankenberge 2018)
Swiss Association of Professional Chaplains in Health Care (BSG)Berufsverband für Seelsorge im Gesundheitswesen: BSG
Association Professionnelle Aumônerie en milieu de santé: APA
For many years the German-speaking chaplains were organized in a Catholic and a Protestant association. On March 23, 2022 the ecumenical Swiss Association of Professional Chaplains in Health Care was founded in Berne. For the first time the French-speaking part of Switzerland is also part of the association. There is an annual meeting and specific further education events. The association is oriented non-denominational. Qualifications and requirements for chaplains, however, remain the same. Chaplains can join the association if they work in a health care institution. An academic degree in Theology and additional training, e.g. Clinical Pastoral Training/Education (CPT/CPE), is required.
Chaplains can work in general hospitals, psychiatric clinics, nursing homes and elderly
homes, rehab hospitals and homes for disabled people. Health care chaplaincy in Switzerland is structured according to the regional and historical situation. The structures depend mostly on the different church organizations and their specific collaboration with the health care institutions. In some cases there are single parishes as well as health care institutions themselves that pay and organize. This structure is also apparent in the development and formation of Muslim chaplaincy in the health care system. Presently efforts are made to establish the spiritual guidance of members of non-Christian religions, in coordination with the traditional chaplaincy.
The quality of pastoral care is the main focus. Nowadays chaplains have a permanent position in the health service settings. The term Spiritual Care underlines the process, in which the professional image of pastoral care is undergoing. The aim of the association is an active dialogue with the national churches, the associations of other health care professions and the universities. And a further aim is that chaplains in health care should be acknowledged as a special profession within the church. Furthermore, the association develops the standards of practice for pastoral care. It gives particular attention to specialized spiritual care in accordance with the latest scientific insights, as e.g. the question of charting or the research of chaplaincy in Switzerland.
President of BSG
Palliative Care Spital Affoltern
CH-8910 Affoltern a. A.
Hospital chaplain, University Hospital of Zurich
Maria Borghi-Ziegler is a Protestant theologian and pastor with specialized training in spiritual care and councelling. After having been in a parish for many years, Maria worked as a chaplain in a nursing home, a rehab hospital and with disabled people. Since 2018 she has been working as a chaplain in the University Hospital of Zurich. She is also active in councelling and training of young pastors in the German-speaking part of Switzerland.
- spiritual and pastoral care for Christian patients as well as other patients in need
- church services
- interreligious contacts
Fr Volodymyr Lyupak (Lisbon 2006)
The Development of Healthcare Chaplaincy in Ukraine
After the fall of the USSR, the Ukraine Health Care System inherited all problems of the Soviet Health Care. A very serious problem was, and still remains medical chaplaincy that was forbidden in the time of the Soviet Union.
In November 2004 by special Decree of Lubomyr Huzar, the Head of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church (http://www.ugcc.org.ua/eng/ugcc_history/) there was established the Inter-diocesan Commission of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church for the Pastoral Health Care. The Commission was called to develop and provide the mission of the Church in the Health Care in Ukraine.
Tasks of the Commission
To establish cooperation with religious, state and public organizations which work in the Health Care;
To spread in Ukrainian society the Church teaching on life and health of man and the meaning of his suffering;
To affirm Christian values in medical social and educational institutions, and in the Ukrainian legislation;
To assist an education of the responsible and careful attitude towards every patient and the respect to his dignity;
To conduct monitoring of the Health Care problems, especially related to the quality and conditions of medical treatment.
Main fields of activity
1. Pastoral activity
Development of the pastoral programs, measures and actions in the Health Care;
Organization of the pastoral Health Care work in all UGCC’s dioceses in Ukraine.
2. Educational activity
Conducting of scientific-practical seminars, trainings and other educational measures;
Assistance to the specialized studies of clergy, medical workers, volunteers for the future work in the Pastoral Health Care.
3. Academic activity
Organization of conferences, round tables on present-day themes and questions;
Conducting of researches and monitoring of problems of the Health Care in Ukraine
4. Publishing activity
Translation and publication of research, practical handbooks, Church documents etc.
At the present time one of the main task of the Commission is to develop medical chaplaincy in the Church as well to bring an attention of the society to this issue. With this intension the Commission presented to the Bishop Conference of UGCC the project of the document “The Status of the Medical Chaplain”. At the same time the Commission makes research in order to present to the Bishop Conference possible initiatives for the legitimisation of medical chaplaincy in Ukraine.
Metropolitan Commission of Health
Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church
Fr Volodymyr Lyupak
5, St. George's Square
Association of Hospice and Palliative Care Chaplains (UK)
[Hospice and Palliative Care Chaplaincy in the UK]
Revd Keith Morrison
Arthur Rank Hospice
What follows is a summary of the work and role of the AHPCC.
1. Support of members: Our priority is the mutual support of one another through regional meetings, the website or conferences, from professional or institutional issues, through personal matters to practical solutions to every-day questions.
2. Communication: We have an active website, www.ahpcc.org.uk It has on it links to conference ppresentations, regional groups, etc. It’s intention is that the site is a responsive mode of communication, support and resource-sharing.
3. The AHPCC annual conference: We hold a regular conference in May of each year which takes place over 3 days it is usually held at Swanwick, Derbyshire.
4. Networking: The AHPCC seeks to work closely and collaboratively with the several other bodies concerned with healthcare chaplaincy in the UK. Together we aim to establish chaplaincy as a nationally recognised professional healthcare discipline.
The main-office bearers can be contacted via the links on the website, and, for further information on the matters outlined above, you can make contact with the President at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The College of Health Care Chaplains
Rev Mark Burleigh
Rev Mark Burleigh
Leicester County Hospital
The College of Health Care Chaplains (CHCC) is a
multi-faith, interdenominational, professional organisation.
It is open to all recognised healthcare Chaplaincy staff,
both paid and voluntary, and to those with an interest in
The College exists to promote the professional standing of healthcare Chaplaincy and that of its members both nationally and within health and social care organisations, so as to ensure the best Spiritual Care.
The College is the largest professional body for chaplains working in the United Kingdom. It is a self-governing part of the trades union “Unite”. This enables its members to access support for all aspects of the their employment, for example in the UK’s National Health Service (NHS). The College also provides opportunities for members to meet locally and discuss a wide range of concerns relating to chaplaincy across the UK. It works closely with the “Scottish Association of Chaplains in Healthcare”, the “National Association of Hospice and Palliative Care Chaplains” and the England specific “Healthcare Chaplaincy Faith and Belief Group”. The College also supports the work of the “UK Board for Healthcare Chaplaincy” as it develops a national professional voluntary register of healthcare chaplains.
For more information see the CHCC website: http://www.healthcarechaplains.org
Rev Mark Burleigh
Mark first worked as a computer programmer, before training for ministry and being ordained as a Baptist minister in 1986. He served in two local church ministries and university chaplaincy before becoming a full-time hospital chaplain. He has been a healthcare chaplain in Leicester's hospitals since 1994, working there full-time since 1999. He now leads the team of chaplains from Christian, Hindu, Muslim and Sikh faiths and volunteers from these faiths as well as the Baha'i, Buddhist, Jewish faiths and Humanist outlook. He has been active in the life of the CHCC since 2002, serving on local and national committees - he has been president of the College since 2012. He also manages the hospitals' bereavement service and is also a proud grandfather!
Health Care Chaplaincy in England and Wales
Health care Chaplaincy in England and Wales continues to
meet the needs of patients in a variety of health care
settings, from large acute NHS trusts to small general
Since the last European network consultation in Estonia there have been a continuous stream of changes in terms of NHS structures and the on going cash flow problems. The new Government White Paper is set to bring yet more changes.
The Church of England continues to be at the fore front of Hospital Chaplaincy and is reviewing how it can best support both Chaplains and Chaplaincy. (www.nhs-chaplaincy-spiritualcare.org.uk)
The Roman Catholic Church, through their Health Care Reference Group, has been seeking to support not only chaplains but also all who work in the NHS. On going research and the development of the ‘Care of the Catholic Patient’ have served to strengthen the care given to members of the Roman Catholic Church in times of sickness and hospitalisation. (www.rcdow.org.uk/healthcare )
The Free Churches Group works with 24 Free Church Denominations to provide realistic and appropriate chaplaincy services in all areas of health care. A significant development has been the introduction of a new robust and transparent authorization process for chaplains from the Free Churches denominations. This process has been accepted by the Directors of Churches Together in England and it is hoped that it will give appropriate access to those from Christian denominations who are not in the Free Churches Group, from the Church of England or the Roman Catholic Church. This work will be continued through the Churches Committee for Health care Chaplaincy
The Healthcare Chaplaincy Faith and Belief Group (HCFBG), formerly the Multi Faith Group for Healthcare Chaplaincy, aims to promote and support religious, spiritual and pastoral care in the NHS in England.
There continues to be a variety of courses for chaplains, before for those starting on their journey and those more established. The Center for Chaplaincy Studies in Cardiff offers both the Introductory Course for Chaplains (both General and Mental Health) and an Masters programme in Chaplaincy studies that is shared with other chaplaincy disciplines. A foundation degree in health care chaplaincy run at St Mary’s University College Twickenham, along with opportunities to progress to undergraduate and masters programmes.
Rev Debbie Hodge
Hospital / Health Care Chaplaincy (formerly the Hospital Chaplainces Council of the General Synod of the Church of England)
Mission and Public Affairs Division
Great Smith Street
London SW1P 3AZ
Rev Dr Malcolm Brown (Director of Mission and Public Affairs)
Rev Dr Brendan McCarthy (Advisor on medical ethics, health and social care policy)
Free Churches Group (England and Wales)
The Free Churches Group (FCG) is an ecumenical association of Free Church denominations and Church groups in England and Wales who are engaged in public ministry, enabling member organisations to meet their calling in the public square by providing national chaplaincy support in the fields of healthcare and prisons, and providing support and resources to equip them in their engagement with education in schools, colleges and universities.
The Current Secretary for Healthcare Chaplaincy is the Revd Dr Mark Newitt. Mark works to equip chaplains from a Free Church background encouraging a culture of reflexivity and continuous professional learning through the provision of support and CPD opportunities. He also engages at strategic level to promote the professional development of chaplaincy and the delivery of high quality, safe, effective pastoral, spiritual and religious care. Stemming from his doctoral research, investigating the work of chaplains within a neonatal and maternity unit, he believes a virtue-based approach to chaplaincy has much to offer and is interested in what virtues (or attitudes, personal qualities, ways of being) might be important within the way chaplaincy is carried out and how these can be developed and included within chaplaincy training, selection and CPD. He is the co-editor of Being a Chaplain published by SPCK and has published articles on both the theory and practice of chaplaincy in diverse journals including the BMJ, Health and Social Care Chaplaincy, Modern Believing, Practical Theology and Theology. Alongside his work at the FCG he is employed as part of the chaplaincy teams at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and St Luke’s Hospice, Sheffield.
Free Church House
27 Tavistock Square
Healthcare Chaplaincy in Scotland
NHS Education for Scotland
Ewan Kelly (Blankenberge 2018)
At present in Scotland there are around 350 part
time and just over 60 whole time chaplains employed by the
National Health Service (NHS) in Scotland. The
majority of chaplains are appointed to look after the whole
healthcare community where they are working. This includes
patients, their carers and staff. They come from a variety
of backgrounds and are expected to work across all
denominations, and with those of different faiths and no
faith. They are expected to provide spiritual care for all
and to facilitate the religious care of those who require
the administrations of someone from a specific faith
community or belief group. If the chaplaincy team is not
equipped to provide specific religious care they will do all
they can to make appropriate arrangements.
The most significant change in recent times was a directive, a “Health Departmental Letter”, which went to all chief executives, containing guidance about spiritual care and chaplaincy. Since then they have developed Spiritual Care Committees in most Boards which are forums for staff, chaplains and local faith and belief groups to share and discuss the development of the spiritual care service and be aware of the needs of different groups. Because of the broad understanding of spiritual care the Scottish Humanist Society is often represented alongside the different faith communities.
This government guidance on spiritual care was updated in 2008. The new guidance further explains the role of the health service in spiritual and religious care and will be a guide to the future development of chaplaincy and spiritual care. Reference is made to the growing evidence base which supports the value of this type of care, issues surrounding the appointment and employment of chaplains are examined, difficulties such as Data Protection are aired, recent developments are noted and ways forward are recommended. This documents makes reference to and values the work of ENHCC, including the standards agreed at the consultation in Turku in 2002.
New ways of doing chaplaincy are developing, moving from a crisis based one to one care model in institutions, to developing well being and resilience in community settings, working with other healthcare professionals, voluntary agencies and faith or belief groups. This is in line with Scottish Government policy and is vital in showing chaplaincy and spiritual care is value to money by saving on medical and pharmaceutical intervention and hospitalisation. It also enhances community and individual wellbeing. The Scottish Government has financed pilot community listening services manned by chaplains and volunteers selected, training and supervised by managers.
The Department of Health and Wellbeing within the devolved Scottish Government supports the development of chaplaincy and spiritual care through the work of Ewan Kelly, the Development Officer. He is part of NHS Education for Scotland (NES), a Board which deals with the training and education of all healthcare staff. Chaplains are in many ways regarded as a health profession although they do not yet have that official registered status. Through NES we have been able to produce a “Multi Faith Resource for Healthcare Staff”, “Standards for NHS Scotland Chaplaincy Services”, and, “Spiritual and Religious Care Capabilities and Competences for Healthcare Chaplains”, a framework of competences, knowledge and awareness needed by chaplains, which is being used to develop education, principally a Postgraduate Certificate in Health Care Chaplaincy. The first group of students completed this course in the Spring of 2010.
There is still a huge need for staff to be better educated as to the full meaning of spiritual care. As the health service is being reminded of the need to be “patient focused”, so we hope the needs of individuals as whole people, hence their spiritual needs, are being better recognized. To help in this area a much appreciated booklet has been published, call “Spiritual Care Matters.” This is now widely used throughout the NHS in Scotland to encourage and promote the delivery of spiritual care.
The Development Officer is now encouraging chaplains to participate in reflective practice and to take part in action research. Recently an audit of the activity of chaplains has been published and is being used to promote the work of spiritual care teams, as is the report on examples of spiritual care provision mapped against the Quality Dimensions of the NHS Scotland Quality Strategy:. (The dimensions are that care should be: safe, effective, person centered, timely, efficient and equable.)
(The documents referred to here can be found on the NES website:
There is now close involvement with the UK Board of Healthcare Chaplaincy (www.UKBHC.org.uk) as the profession moves towards registration and regularion with colleagues across the United Kingdom
The work of the chaplaincy associations to move towards a more professional understanding of chaplaincy is welcome and also very complicated. They are committed to working towards acceptance of chaplaincy as a registered health care profession, although this is still several years away. They are
- AHPCC: Association of Hospice and Palliative Care Chaplains (Scottish Branch)
- SACH: Scottish Association of Chaplains in Healthcare
- CHCC: College of Healthcare Chaplains (Scotland Branch)
These associations are working closely with the Chaplaincy
Development Officer and with colleagues elsewhere in the
United Kingdom to develop the work and understanding of
Chaplaincy in Scotland is not without its difficulties, however we feel it has a higher profile than before and we are committed to continuing to promote the work though the example, study, research, and development by all who are involved in spiritual care.
Dr Ewan Kelly
Programme Director for Healthcare Chaplaincy, NHS Education for Scotland
Ewan Kelly took up the post of Programme Director in 2009 after the retrial of Chris Levison who has participated in the Network since the Turku consultation in 2002. Ewan had been a chaplain at St Columba's Hospice in Edinburgh but has had a wide ranging career which gives him an almost unique preparation for the Programme Director's post. He trained first as a doctor, then as a minister of the Church of Scotland. He became a hospital chaplain in 1995 at the Southern General Hospital in Glasgow, moving 3 years later to the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh. From there his commitment to research and teaching were recognised when he was appointed as a lecturer in Practical Theology at New College in Edinburgh.
Ewan's PhD, which he completed while working as a hospital chaplain and latterly as a lecturer, is entitled: “The role of ritual co-constructed by parents and a chaplain following the death of a baby in-utero ”.
Ewan is now developing the work, acting as a champion for the ongoing development of the provision of spiritual care, especially chaplaincy, within the NHS in Scotland.
Rev Ewan Kelly
Programme Director for Healthcare Chaplaincy and Spiritual
NHS Education for Scotland
102 West Port
Scottish Association of Chaplains in Healthcaare (SACH)
President: Paul Graham
Church of Scotland
John K Thomson
Church of Scotland
121 George Street
Northern Ireland Healthcare Chaplains' Association(NIHCA)
The N.Ireland Healthcare Chaplains Association (NIHCA) exists to offer training to chaplains to improve their knowledge base in the area of chaplaincy and to offer support and fellowship. Membership includes Chaplains who work in Hospitals and Hospices. Annually a Grant is awarded from the NI Department of Health to the NIHCA which combined with membership fees funds training opportunities. Training is both organised by the NIHCA and provided by other organisations e.g. Universities. Members can apply for a small Grant to help pay fees for; Postgraduate Certificate in Chaplaincy Studies, Masters Degree, PhD or other courses relevant to Chaplaincy. In addition, since 2017 there has been a Research Network allied to the NIHCA which aims to promote confidence in research and encourage Chaplains to do research.
Who’s who in NIHCA
Reverend Derek Johnston assumed this role in May, 2022. He is a Methodist Minister with 23 years’ experience as a Chaplain and since 2008 is the Senior Chaplain for the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust Chaplaincy Team. This is a large Trust incorporating health and social care at home, hospital and care homes. The Trust is the largest in N.Ireland and provides all services e.g mental health, paediatrics, obstetrics, cancer care and acute care.
Rev Derek Johnston, NIHCA President
Royal Victoria Hospital
Belfast BT12 6BA
Deaconess Heather McCracken assumed this role in May, 2019. Since 2016 Heather has been a Presbyterian Deaconess with the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust.
Deaconess Heather McCracken, NIHCA Secretary
Royal Victoria Hospital
Belfast BT12 6BA
Director of Training
Michael McMillan assumed the role of Director of Training in May, 2022. Michael has been a Chaplain in the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust since 2012 as a non-denominational Chaplain (not ordained). He has a keen interest in mental health chaplaincy, chaplaincy developments and research.
Mr Michael McMillan, NIHCA Director of Training
Belfast City Hospital
ENHCC and ERICH contact
Rev Rosie Morton has been a Chaplain for 16 years and in the Belfast Health and Social since 2014. She is an Ordained Priest in the Anglican Church and has a keen interest in research and developments in chaplaincy. She has been involved with ERICH since 2017 and ENHCC since 2021.
Rev Rosie Morton, ENHCC/ERICH contact
The first European Consultation for hospital chaplains took place in 1990 in Berlin. For it was then, under the inspiration of the Reverend Sten Lundgren, who was at that time, Secretary for Hospital Chaplaincy in the Commission on Congregational Life in the Church of Sweden, that eleven chaplains from Europe met together for the first time. Sten was made an honorary member for his initiative, vision and work towards the foundation of the Network.
Rune Forsbeck retired as coordinator for health care chaplaincy, employed by The Free Churches' Council of Sweden - which has been integrated into The Christian Council of Sweden. He is a minister of The Mission Covenant Church of Sweden and before taking up the coordinator's post in 1995 served as congregational pastor in Uppsala and Lidingö, as university chaplain in Uppsala and as general secretary of The Swedish Ecumenical Council. He was made an honorary member of ENHCC because of his contributions to the start of the Network.
Reverend Eirik Os is a Norwegian hospital chaplain working in Lovisenberg Deaconal Hospital near Oslo, Norway. For 10 years he was a representative of Norwegian chaplains in the ENHCC. During that time Eirik had a remarkable presence and was chosen to be an honorary member because of his contributions to the development of the ENHCC.
Reverend Kirsti Aalto was one of the early pillars in the foundation of the ENHCC. She was responsible for healthcare chaplaincy in the Church in Finland and represented her country for many years in the Network. She took op the role of committee member for quite some years and was organizer of the consultation in Finland in Turku in 2002. She worked tirelessly for the development of chaplaincy in her own country and in the European Community. Her love for art, beauty and language was always integrated in her work.
Reverend Fred Coutts was a representative for the Scottish Association of Chaplains in Healthcare (SACH) for many years in the ENHCC. It is hard to imagine the development of the Network without the loyal contribution of Fred. Fred joined the Network in 2000 in Crete and became its always available webmaster, secretary and living memory. He served the Network for 12 years and was made an honorary member in 2012 in Mennorode.
Scott & Cheryl Holmes (Blankenberge 2018)
Harlan Beck, Anna Pietersz-Beck, Danielle Grossoehme (Blankenberge 2018)