Damascus, January 22, 2020
In addition to its work in restoring damaged churches and monasteries in war-torn Syria, the Russian Church is also working to open an aid center to help Syrian children who have been affected by the war.
The Church was able to organize prosthetic care and rehabilitation for 10 Syrian children in Moscow over the past year, but it will be able to help a much greater number of people with a center on the ground in Damascus, His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, the Chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations, told Interfax-Religion on Tuesday.
“Patriarch Kirill’s special concern is people, not just the restoration of holy sites,” Met. Hilarion said.
However, “This is not an easy task for us—each child is a separate drama of terrible events that upended their lives and those of their families.”
There are thousands of children in need of such help, Met. Hilarion said, “and the task of the Church is to do everything possible to give these children a new chance and hope… Therefore, we hope to organize and equip a center this year to help such children under the roof of the representation of the Russian Orthodox Church in Damascus.”
“With the help of God, we plan to continue prosthetic care for affected Syrian children in 2020, and also to bring those who need more specialized assistance to Moscow. I hope that God will send us helpers and trustees for this initiative,” the DECR head said.
His Eminence also shared the stories of two children who have already been treated:
Mahmoud al-Hasan, 15, suffered shrapnel wounds, ruptured eyeballs, and skin burns when terrorists fired rockets at the Hasan al-Kudri school. His right arm was partially amputated. Mahmoud was in 7th grade at the time of his serious injuries. The other boy, Ibrahim Mardan, is 12 years old. A man approached Ibrahim at school and gave him a toy, saying he could take it home. When the man left, the boy went home and the toy exploded in his hand. The explosion caused the loss of the left upper limb and the loss of vision in the right eye.