Moscow, July 28, 2020
The need for social assistance has increased throughout the world due to the coronavirus pandemic. Orthodox parishes, dioceses, and entire Local Churches have stepped up to take care of those in need.
The extensive social work of the Russian and Ukrainian Churches has increased during the pandemic to meet the increased need.
With the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill, the Moscow Patriarchate has transferred nearly $600,000 (43 million rubles) to Church social assistance centers and shelters for mothers to support their activities during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The funds were received by 56 organizations from 48 dioceses in 38 regions of Russia, including 21 shelters for mothers in difficult situations, and 35 humanitarian assistance centers, reports the site of the Synodal Department for Charity and Social Service.
The allocated money will help cover the needs of the various organizations through the end of 2020. It is being used to purchase food and hygiene kits for needy wards and to pay salaries and utilities.
Maria Studenikina, the head of Maternity and Child Protection for the Synodal Department, expressed gratitude to all the benefactors, noting that many people have lost their jobs during the pandemic and thus requests for assistance from the Church have increased significantly, while funds are running out.
“Many of our shelters, where mothers with children live, were on the verge of closing. But now they have the opportunity to hold out financially until the end of this year and help thousands of families,” Studenikina said.
One organization that received assistance was the Cradle center in the village of Pokrovka in the Primorsky Krai that conducts pre-abortion counseling at the local hospital and helps families who have decided to save their children’s lives. Though the village is small, the center currently cares for 97 families, most of them large families, according to the director Yana Turkan.
“We often help to save the third, fourth, and sometimes sixth or seventh child. Out of 100 cases of applying for an abortion in the village per year, we manage to save 20-25 babies. We always support these families... People don't have jobs, so this money is a real salvation. We will be able to buy food packages with them and distribute them to those in need,” Turkan said.
Over the past 8 years, the number of Church shelters for mothers has increased from 1 to 75, and the number of humanitarian aid centers has increased from 66 to 209. There are more than 100 Church volunteer services throughout Russia and abroad, and almost 7,000 Orthodox volunteers. 102 dioceses have opened hotlines to help those in need during the pandemic.
And in Ukraine, the Chancellor of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, His Eminence Metropolitan Anthony of Boryspil and Brovary, gave nearly $10,000 (270,000 hryvnas) to medics working at a Lugansk checkpoint in Donbass.
His Eminence gave the funds to Ilia Bogomolov, the head of the International Charitable Assistance foundation, Met. Anthony reports.
The allocated funds will be used to purchase medical equipment and medicines for ICU ambulance used at the checkpoint.