BEGINNING AND DEVELOPMENT OF HAGIOTHERAPY
Hagiotherapy has its roots in the early Christian catechumenate used by the founder, Professor Tomislav Ivančić, to create a practical model of modern evangelization. In the third part of this model, the cleansing and enlightment of man on the way to the Church is carried out. After some time, this third parto f the catechumenate model began to be used as a special way of helping people in their needs, crises, illnesses and despair.
In order to help people more professionally and better in this regard, in August 1990, the Center for Spiritual Assistance in Zagreb was established. After several years of practical work, there was a need to scientifically substantiate this work, so that such work could be scientifically argued, and on the other hand to develop a method of healing the spirit. In 1994,
the founder named this method ‘hagiotherapy’. The organization of schools for the training of employees in hagiotherapy centers in our country and in the world quickly followed. Apart from Croatia, experts were trained in Austria, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Italy, Ireland, England, the USA and Ukraine.
In addition to holding public forums for doctors, priests and educators on the principles of hagiotherapy, the first scientific symposium on hagiotherapy was organized in 2006 in Zagreb. In the period from 2009 to 2017, eight International Studies of Hagiotherapy and Anthropological Medicine were held with over 600 participants per year from more than twenty countries.
The hagiotherapeutic spiritual approach has its source in the scientific research of the spiritual dimension, especially the brain and human consciousness, in the research of genes and their contents, memory and remembrance, in the research of human beliefs. In this sense, the study of scientific literature in the field of neuroscience provides great help.
Hagiotherapy consists of new therapeutic possibilities, and the therapeutic action in hagiotherapy opens up new visions and demands for all-encompassing development. Hagiotherapy is a scientifically based therapeutic method for the healing of the spiritual soul that can be used by all people, all worldviews and all people who suffer.
MEANING AND PLACE OF HAGIOTHERAPY
The word ‘hagiotherapy’ means the healing of the sacred (gr. hagios – holy; therapeuo – to heal). The whole man is holy, but his spiritual dimension, because he originates directly from the Creator who is the only holy, in a special way represents the sacred realm in man. This presence of the Creator is neither religious nor confessional, but accessible and acceptable to all, because it is in creation and arises from the creation of the world, and that means it is innate to all. Therefore, this universal knowledge and presence of the Creator is the greatest power to achieve spiritual health.
Hagiotherapy is between psychology, psychiatry and psychotherapy on the one hand and religion and the pastoral action of the Church on the other. Theology is excellent at researching and knowing God and his relationship to man, but it lacks knowledge of man.
The pastoral care of the Church works for the salvation of man, and does not investigate the wounds, diseases and infirmities of the spiritual soul. Orthodox theologians have declared the psychic dimension of man to be spiritual, and Catholic theologians have identified the psychic and spiritual realms. Psychologists, neuropsyciatrists and psychotherapists are convinced that in the study of the psyche they have captured the whole soul and its pathology and therapy. Animals also possess the psyche, and it is not specifically man’s characteristic. Religiosity is only one segment of man’s spiritual soul, not the whole spirituality of man.
Man is a complex being. In himself he carries dead matter, vegetative life as plants, psychic life as animals, but also spiritual life. The spiritual soul is the bearer of the spiritual or man’s life that belongs to man as a person. In man we observe phenomena which we do not find in plants and animals, and they are not the result of the psychic and vegetative soul, but of some other abilities. Man thinks, speaks, writes, creates, seeks meaning, is free and responsible, explores, creates culture and art, believes, manages nature and transforms it.
Hagiotherapy is a separate and autonomous area, and its task is to explore man’s spiritual soul, its wounds, illnesses and infirmities, and to find a way to diagnose and treat these wounds.
Hagiotherapy is done on two levels, individual and social. The treatment of individuals is called microtherapy, and the treatment and work on the reconstruction of the society is macrotherapy. Individual work is carried out by hagioassistants in hagiotherapy centres, and social work through various media, meetings, seminars and forums.
It is very important to emphasize that hagiotherapy work should only be performed if one becomes a member of the Prayer and the Word Community. This church community researches, teaches, trains people for hagiotherapy and at the same time protects the method and patients from unprofessional and false workers.
It controls the work of hagioassitants, requires an excellent education from them, both theoretical and practical, and archives their exams, papers, research and progression.
That is why the Prayer and the Word Community has registered the name ‘hagiotherapy’ and whoever works in it at his own will, it suspends and punishes him. There were such „thieves“ cases who, without any expertise and connection with the Prayer and the Word Community, worked with patients under the name of hagiotherapy and unfairly earned money by harming instead of helping patients, and the Community sued, prosecued and banned their work. Only in this way can one work properly and have the trust of patients. After all, medicine and psychiatry are equally protected by state and scientific protection.
Not only work with patients by the method of hagiotherapy is protected, but also the establishment of hagiotherapy centers. Any establishment of associations under that name, society or institute, must have the approval and confirmation of the Community. Therefore, wherever one wants to work according to the method of hagiotherapy, it is necessary to first connect with the Community and, if necessary, establish a regional Community which is under the control of the National Community of the Prayer and the Word, and it under the auspices of the Supreme Community in Zagreb.
These are all patterns, regularities and forms that all communities in the Church and the state have. Only in this way can hagiotherapy be saved from all sorts of scandals and encourage excellence and quality work with patients.
In hagiotherapy, it is important to constantly progress, always take new exams, write papers, learn from books and manuals, and write down various experiences from practice from patients. But the most important thing is to appy everything learned on yourself and from that gain security and the best way to mediate therapy and discover the diagnosis. Hagiotherapy is constantly evolving and all those who do not study, read or take exams become unable to apply therapies effectively.