Svyatogorsk, Ukraine, January 3, 2018
More than 28 tons of humanitarian aid were delivered from the Chernivtsi Diocese in Western Ukraine to the Holy Dormition Svytagorsk Lavra in Donetsk on December 29, just in time for New Year’s and Nativity celebrations, reports the Lavra’s website.
The help was organized by a concerned parishioner of the St. Nicholas Cathedral in Chernivtsi named Maria, deeply empathetic to all her fellow countrymen who have fallen on hard times and all who are suffering since the beginning of the armed conflict in Eastern Ukraine.
Volunteers have already collected and sent aid—medicine, food, and money—several times to the suffering civilians in Donbass. Having seen a message on the Svyatogorsk Lavra’s website about the difficulties of the refugees and displaced citizens taking shelter at the Lavra, Maria decided to gather aid to send to the monastery.
Food, clothing, and shoes were collected over a period of three months before being sent to the monastery.
The Svyatogorsk Lavra and the town of Svyatogorsk itself, with a meager population of 4,000, have received over 30,000 refugees over the past several years.
“The Holy Orthodox Church has always been like a loving mother for its people: reconciling the conflicting groups, giving consolation to those in sorrow, praying for peace and prosperity of our motherland, giving a helping hand to those in need, providing the naked with clothes, giving shelter to the homeless and those without means of subsistence, supporting by prayer and strengthening the weak-spirited and those who have given themselves up to despair, inspiring its spiritual children with hope in the all-powerful help of God,” reads a statement of Abbot of the Dormition Svyatogorsk Lavra Archbishop Arseny with the brethren, refugees and pilgrims.
The Lavra has received a great deal of humanitarian help from various dioceses of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and from benevolent Orthodox Christians abroad, including from Serbia, America, and elsewhere. 33 tons of aid were recently delivered in March.
Showing Christ-like love to so many refugees, the Lavra has also become a center of conversion to holy Orthodoxy. For example, in August 2014, thirty refugees, including children and adults, were baptized.