Moscow, March 1, 2018
A central-Moscow church will serve a panikhida on Sunday for all the homeless who have lived and died on the streets of the capital. The event will be held as part of the “Friends of the Street” initiative of “The Friends of the Community of St. Egidius,” reports Blagovest-Info.
St. Egidius, also known as St. Giles, was a Greek hermit of the 7th-8th centuries. He founded a monastery in Saint-Gilles-du-Gard, France, where his tomb is a place of pilgrimage.
All those who died on the streets this winter will be commemorated at the panikhida. The names of the deceased were gathered by volunteers at the weekly distributions of food and warmth on the city’s streets and train stations.
Also to be commemorated is Irina Melkomova, the beggar at St. George Cathedral in Kizlyar who died on Forgiveness Sunday trying to protect her fellow parishioners from a terror attack that left five dead and four injured.
The service will end with a communal memorial meal. More than 200 are expected to gather for the prayers, including “Friends of the Street” volunteers, their homeless friends, and many concerned residents.
The first such panikhida was celebrated 12 years ago in memory of Lily, a young woman who died from cold and sickness on the streets in 2006.
“The Friends of the Community of St. Egidius” is an association of people inspired by the experience of the Italian organization “The Society of St. Egidius” which is widely known throughout the world for its acts of mercy and peacemaking activities. At present, the movement unites more than 100 volunteers of different ages and professional and economic statuses who help the homeless, the lonely elderly, and people in difficult situations.