Orthodox orphanage in Guatemala forced to surrender its property

Moscow, May 17, 2017

Photo: antiochian.org Photo: antiochian.org
    

Mother Ines, abbess of the Holy Trinity Monastery in Amatitlan, Guatemala, and head of the Hogar Rafael Ayau Orphanage in Guatemala City, has announced on the Hogar Rafael Ayau Facebook page and the Friends Helping Rafal Ayau site that the children’s home is being forced to abandon its property in the capital city.

As previously reported, although the orphanage and property had been given to Mother Ines and the nuns of Holy Trinity in 1996 by former President Arzú for a span of fifty years, the Attorney General sent a letter on March 20 stating that the state was repossessing the property, needing it to take care of children with more immediate needs, and that the legal agreement between the government and orphanage was never properly registered and so not binding.

Mother Ines writes:

I am writing this to tell you with great sadness that we are going to leave the property donated for charity by my great-grandfather, Don Rafael Ayau, in 1856; and which in 1996 former President Arzú, asked us to accept in usufruct for 50 years. We received it abandoned, looted and ruined. We fixed it with the help of Guatemalans and it was rehabilitated.

Now, after 20 years, when it is still being done a daily extraordinary work in benefit of 400 youngsters in risk, President Morales is asking it back for the governmental institution of Social Welfare. In three occasions I have sought for a dialogue with the President, but it has not been possible.

The orphanage has been run by the nuns of the Holy Trinity Orthodox Monastery, under the care of abbess Mother Ines for more than twenty years, after the government handed the orphanage, founded in 1857, over to them for renovation and reopening. With the help of generous Guatemalans, they rebuilt the facilities and received a child in need of a home almost daily for the first ten years. They successfully completed over 500 adoptions, after which adoption laws in the nation changed, and the number of children at the orphanage began to dwindle. The orphanage and monastery have also hosted Orthodox guests from around the world.

Several peaceful protests were staged, national and international petitions were established, and legal steps were taken to protect the property, but as Mother Ines announced on May 15, their attempts were not successful.

“We should all agree and struggle to get the abandoned children of our country ahead. Our energy and work should be focused towards good deeds. But sadly it is not so,” she writes.

However, despite the seeming loss, Mother Ines also points to the blessings received from the situation: “This battle that we have fought together to keep the Home, this support received from 7.1 million Guatemalans and from all the media but one, has been an extraordinary demonstration of what Guatemalans consider is correct, noble, and worthy. It has been indeed a pleasure to experience it, and a blessing living it! We thank you for your support.”

The nuns intend, courts allowing, to continue raising the twelve adolescents currently under their care, who grew up in the orphanage, and whose adoptions the law never permitted.

The abbess closes her message with hope and prayer:

We will keep on working wherever we can, whenever we can, making alliances with persons we can count on, like you. We keep on counting on you for everything.

Thank very much. Let´s keep on building our beautiful country.

Let us live with the dignity of children of God our Father, being merciful as He is.

Let us keep the constant prayer that protects us: Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us.
We remember you in our prayers all the time. Count on us as we do count on you. Thank you. Blessings for each one and a thousand thanks from us the Orthodox Catholic nuns of the Monastery of the Holy Trinity.

5/17/2017

See also
Government aims to take Orthodox monastery-run orphanage in Guatemala Government aims to take Orthodox monastery-run orphanage in Guatemala Government aims to take Orthodox monastery-run orphanage in Guatemala Government aims to take Orthodox monastery-run orphanage in Guatemala
Now the government has a separate but related legal battle on its hands, after notifying the staff and residents of another orphanage, the Hogar Rafael Ayau, just twelve days after the disaster at the Hogar Seguro orphanage, that they had thirty days to vacate the premises.
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We sincerely love Russia and the Russian Orthodox Church. We have Byzantine crosses on our cupolas, but everything else is Russian: the architecture, the icons, and the frescos. People, when they see the Russian cupolas, understand right away that there is an Orthodox church before them. Our parish keeps to Russian traditions in the services, keeps to the Julian calendar; and the nuns wear the Russian monastic habit.
Comments
Paok5/19/2017 1:05 am
I smell the meddling of the wicked latin heretics in this. This is exactly their MO. Revenge for the Antiochian Patriarch opposing their loyal friend P. Bartholemew at the Crete Council. The wicked latin papist can always do one better than the muslims when they fight the Holy Church of Christ. This could be a big blessing in disguise.
Alicia5/18/2017 6:17 am
It is sad that the government wants to treat these ladies and children like this it's only because they want property probably because it's being taken care of I praying hard for all
Eliyah5/18/2017 12:20 am
People in powers will always test people of faith. This constant struggle is permitted by the Holy One to test how much faith in Him we have. This president Morales will not take back this orphanage unless the Lord has better plan for you. Knowing that do all you have to do and the rest let it be in the hands of the Almighty. Never worry & never forget that Blessed are those who are persecuted for Justice for the Kingdom belongs to them.
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