In the ancient Greek world, as in the Byzantine Empire, faith and medicine have always been closely linked. The organized social welfare of the Medieval Greek Empire builds charities that were first known to mankind. The gradual development and improvement of Byzantine Hospitals was directly related to the progress of medical science.
Orthodoxy is that part of Christianity that clearly supported medicine, highlighting it as the quintessence of compassion. After all, it contributed more than any other faith to the development of medical science, because Orthodox Church created the most natural space for observation and clinical action: the Hospital, which is its own creation.
At 1136, Emperor Ioannis II Komnenos founded a Monastery in Constantinople, known as“The Pantocrator” (The Almighty), which included a Hospital and other auspicious institutions. This Hospital (Xenon) bears a strong resemblance to the current, highly organized nursing centers, so that the eminent byzantine scholar Herbert Hunger described this institution as “surprisingly modern”.
Impressed by the hospital regulations of the Pantocrator Monastery, historians such as Georg Schreiber, Alexander Phillipsborn and Hans Georg Beck they recognized the superiority of Byzantine Hospitals over any medical institution in the Latin West Europe. The historian Theodore Uspensky writes characteristically: “The Hospital of the Pantocrator is perhaps the most moving example that history has left us of the humanitarian perceptions of byzantine society”. The holistic approach of Orthodoxy to the issues of sickness was completed by the several Fathers of our Holy Church, who see the medication for the body to be combined with the spiritual ascension.