Moscow, May 15, 2020
Last month, it was announced that the Russian Orthodox Church has developed a plan to support socially vulnerable segments of the population in Moscow and the Moscow Province, offering emergency social, psychological, and medical care in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
Part of this help includes the creation of a hotline where people can receive emergency counseling and psychological assistance.
But the Moscow hotline is just one of nearly 100 diocesan hotlines operating throughout Russia and abroad where the Russian Church ministers.
96 hotlines in Russia, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan are taking requests for help from people in need, including in major cities such as Almaty, Ekaterinburg, Rostov-on-Don, Tumen, Kazan, and in small cities such as Serov, Akhtubinsk, Balashov, and Armavir.
All those in need can turn to the Church for help, regardless of their religion, citizenship, or nationality.
In Moscow, hotline operators receive more than 1,500 calls a week. The hotline has received more than 8,000 calls altogether since March 20. In Rostov-on-Don, the hotline is open around the clock, with 60-70 people calling every day. Since March 21, when the emergency regime was instituted in Kyrgyzstan, volunteers have fulfilled more than 1,500 requests for food.
“We are all going through a very difficult period now, but it is especially difficult for the elderly and single people, large and single-parent families. And it is very joyful that in large and small cities, priests, volunteers, and sisters of charity are ready to help those in need—to be on the phone, bring food and medicine, support and to comfort people,” said His Grace Bishop Panteleimon, the Chairman of the Synodal Department for Charity.
Anyone can call the hotline to invite priests to visit them to administer Church Sacraments.
Many dioceses note that the number of requests has doubled over the past month, while the number of volunteers has also grown.
A list of the hotlines can be found on the site of the Synodal Department for Charity and Social Service.