Odessa, Ukraine, July 26, 2021
The Ukrainian Church continues to expand its ministry to the poor and needy, most recently opening a shelter for victims of domestic abuse.
The new shelter was opened at the Archangel Michael Convent in Odessa on Friday. The project was implemented with the blessing of His Eminence Metropolitan Agafangel of Odessa and Izmail with the support of the local authorities, reports the Odessa Diocese of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
The House of Mercy is designed to accommodate up to 10 people of all ages, mainly women and children who have suffered violence at the hands of their own family members. At the shelter, they will receive accommodation and food provided by the monastery, as well as a full range of services from the specialists of the city’s social services.
The official opening of the shelter was attended by the monastery’s Abbess Seraphima, who is also the head of the Social Department of the Odessa Diocese, and Minister of Social Policy of Ukraine Marina Lazebnaya.
“I wanted to thank the creators of the shelter and express my respect and support to them,” Lazebnaya said. “We’ve allocated Odessa $92,600 (2.5 million hryvnia) for the development of such services in the city. We welcome such initiatives.”
As Abbess Seraphima noted, domestic violence is a serious problem that has only become more acute during the pandemic.
“I think our initiative will contribute to other volunteer and public organizations responding to the call. I’d like our parishioners and our people to do everything to so that violence in families wouldn’t turn into aggression, wouldn’t become a sin that cripples human souls,” the abbess said.
According to stats from the National Social Service of Ukraine, there were more than 211,000 reported cases of domestic violence last year, the vast majority coming from women.
Watch a video from the opening of the shelter:
In May, OrthoChristian reported about a Ukrainian priest and his matushka who have adopted 25 children and opened a children’s center at their church.