About two months ago, during an Easter pilgrimage to Christian holy sites in Israel, a 61-year-old Russian tourist suffered a heart attack. She was rushed to the Hadassah Ein Kerem Medical Center, suffering from extensive brain damage, and was hospitalized at the Intensive Care Unit.
Doctors fought for her life, but several days later they were forced to pronounce her brain dead.
The organ transplant coordinator at Hadassah, Kyrill Grosovsky, located the woman's two adult children in Russia, and after several conversations they agreed to donate their mother's organs. As she was a devout Christian, her children asked that she receive a religious burial in Israel in order to ensure a proper closure.
The Greek Orthodox Church does not usually bury Christians who are not Israeli residents on its property on Mount Zion, but agreed to give the woman a dignified Christian funeral and burial in Israel due to her organ donation and following appeals from officials in the Religious Affairs and Interior ministries and from Archbishop Aristarchos, who serves as the secretary-general of the of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem.
Tourist's funeral held in two languages
The ceremony was held in two languages, Hebrew and Russian, by the Church's representative, Father Alexander. A wreath of flowers was laid on behalf of the Hadassah hospital, and another on behalf of the travel agency which brought the tourist to Israel.
Grosovsky continued the complicated coordination work, which required many permits and discussions in order to transfer the deceased from the Hadassah hospital to Mount Zion. The burial ceremony and funeral were documented and the photographs were sent to the woman's children in Russia.
The woman's liver was transplanted in the body of a 55-year-old man at Hadassah. A 63-year-old man suffering from renal failure received a new kidney at Hadassah, and the other kidney was transplanted in a 62-year-old patient at the Rabin Medical Center in Petah Tikva.