Moscow, May 2, 2017
The 8th Interregional Conference on the Church’s Social Ministry, at which representatives from eighteen dioceses, including clergy, social workers, nurses, and volunteers, discussed issues of assistance to large families, women in crises, people with disabilities, Church rehabilitation of drug and alcohol-addicted people, and other question were addressed, was held in St. Petersburg from April 26 to 28, reports the site of the Moscow Patriarchate.
In particular, on the third day the Church’s aid to drug and alcohol-addicted people was discussed, in which it was reported that there are more than 500 active anti-alcoholism projects in Russia today under the auspices of the Russian Orthodox Church. “One of the Church’s most successful works in the sphere of temperance education is the celebration of the All-Russian Day of Sobriety on September 11,” stated Valery Doronkin, head of the Coordinating center for combating alcoholism and endorsing sobriety of the Synodal charity department.
Special prayers are added to the Litany of Peace and the Litany of Fervent Supplication on the Day of Sobriety. His Holiness Patriarch Kirill stated on this day in 2016:
By decision of the Holy Synod in 2014, the day of the Beheading of St. John the Prophet, Forerunner, and Baptist is deemed the Day of Sobriety, because precisely the mad state of Herod, drunk on wine at his banquet, was the cause of such a frightful order which he gave—to behead the holy prophet.
We know what terrible sufferings drunkenness has brought our people in the past, and which continue today: the destruction of families, the birth of sick children, people, losing the meaning of life and health, called to the fullness of existence, becoming invalids in youth only because they didn’t have enough strength to turn from sinful attractions and stop drinking.
The development of criteria for evaluating the preventative and rehabilitative activities of the Russian Orthodox Church was also discussed. “Such criteria are extremely necessary for creating our own Church system of certifying Orthodox rehabilitation centers,” said the head of the charity department’s work with addicts, Alexei Lazarev. Issues of funding such centers were also discussed.
Additionally, the Russian Orthodox Church has organized more than 4,000 social projects, including 95 shelters for the homeless, more than 80 humanitarian aid centers, more than 70 rehabilitation centers for drug addicts, 49 shelters for moms, 10 mobile services for the homeless, and over 700 volunteer services in Russia.
The Synodal department for charitable works has held a conference on the Church’s social services every year since 2010 with the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill.