Shakhty, Russia, September 12, 2017
With the blessing of the administrator of the Skhakhty Diocese His Grace Bishop Simon (Morozov), the construction of a modular church in honor of the modern ascetic of piety St. Paisios the Athonite began on April 4, 2016 on the territory of a Shakhty drug rehabilitation center, reports AgionOros.
The center facilitates an Orthodox rehabilitation program for psychoactive-dependent people, one of the most important components of which is the churching of the center’s wards, who cannot otherwise participate in the sacramental life of the Church.
“Choosing the name of the church, in honor of which saint the church should be consecrated, we unanimously decided that the only possible choice among the saints who in his lifetime knew the problem of addiction, and helped addicts with advice and prayer was St. Paisios,” parish rector Fr. Andrei Kovalev stated.
The church is being built on the donations of those going through the rehabilitation program. At the time of St. Paisios’ feast day, July 12, the church had a floor and roof, but no walls, as reported by the Shakhty Diocese. On that day, the Blessing of Water and an Akathist were celebrated under the roof of the church by Fr. Andrei, with the center’s staff and wards participating. Walls have begun to be built since then, and a cupola installed.
The Church of Sts. Arsenios the Cappadocian and Paisios the Athonite was opened in Ekale, Limassol, Cyprus in February 2015, and it was announced in March 2015 that another church in honor of the Athonite would be built in Chania, Crete. Servicemen of the small Greek town of Ambelonas (Thessaly administrative region) started construction on a church in honor of the then-newly-canonized saint in October 2015. Another church in Patras was consecrated to St. Paisios in March 2016. A Greek villager has repurposed 300-year-old oak tree into a chapel in honor of St. Paisios. Athonite disciples of St. Paisios have also neared completion on a church in his honor on the Holy Mountain.
Construction on another Russian church in honor of St. Paisios began this summer in Crimea, an altar was consecrated to St. Paisios in March in the Church of the Holy Equal-to-the-Apostles Vladimir in the northwestern Moscow district of Mitino, and the foundation stone of the first Belarusian church in honor of St. Paisios was blessed on October 2, 2016 in Slutsk in central Belarus.