A Pastoral Seminar
“Caring for the Caregivers”
On Saturday March 18, 2017 a pastoral seminar was organized at the Saint John of Damascus Institute of Theology, Balamand. The seminar titled “Caring for the Caregivers” started at 9:00 AM until 1:00 PM with the presence of priests, faculty, specialists in addition to twenty students from Saint Anne Seminary, Rabweh. Father Bassam Nassif, Assistant Professor of Pastoral Theology at the Saint John of Damascus Institute of Theology gave an introduction to the seminar.
At the beginning, Father Porphyrios Georgi, Dean of the Institute welcomed everyone and relayed the blessings of His Beatitude Patriarch John X of Antioch and All the East to the audience. He added that: “The modern man puts between him and religion a barrier of reservation and rejection, so that the judicial image of God enshrined in some approaches of Christian theology has made modern man exclude any role of God and religion in his enlightened societies.” He also added that, “in some places, Christian theology has lost the possibility of communicating with people. It has contributed to making contemporary man lose his purpose and the right vision in his life, which could only be provided by theology. When theology diverts from its original course, people tend to quench their thirst, either from western spiritualism, or by turning to the material and its origins, or with some kind of apathy and coldness." Fr. Porphyrios stressed that: “the Christian theology is a pastoral and missionary message. It is an approach for the healing of man in order to have life – through enlightenment, and to have the best - through glorification."
The first lecture was given by Dr. Nazem Bassil, Associate Professor of Clinical Family Medicine at the University of Balamand and specialist in family medicine and geriatrics at Saint George Hospital. Dr. Bassil spoke about the reality of caregivers in Lebanon and described the challenges imposed on them. The second lecture was given by Dr. Michel Daher, Professor of Surgery and Director of Medical Ethics Teaching Program at the University of Balamand and Saint George Hospital. Dr. Daher provided an explanation on fatigue and its cure from a medical point of view.
After a short break, Dr. Jane Karnahan Hinshaw, Professor at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and Saint Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, Yonkers, New York gave the third lecture. Dr. Karnahan spoke about caring for the caregivers from a psychological perspective. The last lecture was given by Dr. Daniel Hinshaw, Professor at the University of Michigan and Saint Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary. Dr. Hinshaw spoke about caring for the caregivers from a spiritual point of view. At the end, discussions were opened between the audience and the lecturers. Later, they were all invited to a banquet hosted by the Institute.