Urzhum, Russia, April 3, 2019
The Russian Orthodox Church has opened yet another care center for pregnant women in crisis situations, this time in the city of Urzhum, 120 miles northeast of Kazan, in the Urzhum Diocese.
The center was organized as a result of the Urzhum Diocese’s participation in the Synodal Department for Charity and Social Service’s competition to create projects to help women and children in difficult situations, reports the diocesan website.
142 projects from 93 dioceses took prizes in the competition, and thanks to the allocated funds, 13 new shelters for mothers and 57 new maternity protection centers will be opened, and another 72 projects will be able to expand their activities aimed at protecting life and preventing abortion in 2019.
The opening ceremony was held on Sunday, March 31, with Fr. Alexander Laptev from Holy Trinity Cathedral in Urzhum and obstetrician-gynecologist Dr. Andrei Koshelev from the Urzhum Hospital handling the ribbon-cutting duties. Fr. Alexander also served a moleben, with the staff and guests asking God’s blessing for this God-pleasing work.
In his address to those present, Fr. Alexander noted that any good work always requires effort and the matter of saving unborn children demands special efforts, and expressed his hope that through the efforts of the care center, the terrible sin of infanticide would be committed less often.
Dr. Koshelev noted that the hospital and diocese had carried out such work at the end of 2014, with more than 600 consultations being held and more than 100 women refusing to have an abortion. According to the doctor, a spiritual mentor has a greater impact on a person in difficult life situations than a health worker. Therefore, it is important that the care center is under the jurisdiction of the Church.
The center provides assistance to pregnant women on the verge of abortion, single mothers with children up to 1.5 years old who are in a difficult situation, and large families with children up to 1.5 years old who are in a limited financial situation. Those in need can receive clothes, food, diapers, baby formula, and personal hygiene products, and talk with priests. The priests will also serve molebens for pregnant women for the granting of children.
The Russian Church opened its 58th shelter for pregnant women and mothers in Livny in October. As of November, there were 58 Church-run shelters for women with children in Russia, 57 of which were established over the past 7 years. There were also 166 Church humanitarian aid centers.
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