Odessa, May 24, 2021
A priest of the Odessa Diocese of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and his wife have organized an Orthodox children’s center at their church, where 28 children are currently being raised.
At first, Fr. John Goria of the Joy of All Who Sorrow Church and his matushka dreamed of creating an Orthodox kindergarten, but one day, after three young orphans came to the church asking for food, he realized he needed to do more.
Today the children are fed and clothed, and they left, but “what’s next?” Fr. John said in a video on the Vesti Odessa YouTube channel. Thus, he conceived of the idea to build an Orthodox children’s center at his church.
And of the 28 children at the center, 25 of them have been adopted by Fr. John. The adoption process is currently under way for two more children, aged 10 months and 1.5 years.
A Convent of Sts. Martha and Mary was also founded at the Church of the Joy of All Who Sorrow, where the Sisters of Mercy are engaged in charitable and missionary work. For more than 18 years, the parish has operated a dining hall for the homeless, feeding more than 200 people a day. There is also a Sunday School and a large library of spiritual literature.
Fr. John has also been celebrating memorial services for the homeless for more than 10 years.
“Christ and many saints have shown us the way. I would like not only for bishops and priests to help people in need, but everyone. This path is very difficult, but it can be overcome with God’s help. The main thing is to ask God for help. After all, if the Lord is in the first place, then everything else will be in its place. Our motto is the words of the apostle: Be not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord (Rom. 12:11),” Fr. John concluded.
In September, Matushka Maria Lvova-Belova, the mother of 17 children, head of several social and Church projects, and head of the Penza Diocese’s Department for Assistance to People with Disabilities, was honored as a “Leader of Russia.”