Rostov-on-Don, Russia, February 21, 2022
With the blessing of His Eminence Metropolitan of Merkury, from the first days of the forced evacuation from the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, the Rostov-on-Don Diocese of the Russian Church has been actively involved in helping refugees.
The leadership of the republics earlier announced a temporary evacuation to the Rostov Province in Russia due to the threat of invasion from Ukraine. Women, children, and the elderly are prioritized. The Donetsk Ministry of Emergency Situations reported that it’s planned to evacuate about 700,000 people, according to RIA-Novosti.
The Don Metropolis’ humanitarian aid center switched to a daily schedule beginning Friday. On Saturday, it distributed hundreds of bottles of waters, juice, and dry food products to people awaiting temporary accommodation, the Rostov-on-Don Diocese reports.
Every parish throughout the diocese is gathering aid for the Donetsk and Lugansk refugees, and temporary accommodations are being established and supplied with all necessary appliances and products. There are priests on duty at each point, providing the necessary spiritual assistance.
More than 3,000 children and adults are currently being housed throughout the diocese.
And of course, the Church is lifting up prayers for all those affected by the conflict.
Yesterday, Met. Merkury and His Grace Bishop Artemy of Taganrog served a Moleben for the Multiplication of Peace and Love.
And naturally, the hierarchs of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church serving in the Donetsk and Lugansk Republics are calling for increased prayer as well.
His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Donetsk has appealed to the clergy and laity to strengthen their prayers for peace and repentance, and also called up monasteries to open their doors for refugees.
“Our faith is strong, and our hope is indestructible! We don’t want war. We, being children of the Church of Christ, act as peacemakers in such circumstances, appealing to the reason of those responsible for decision-making leading to peace, prosperity and mutual understanding!” His Eminence writes.
In Lugansk, His Eminence Metropolitan Panteleimon blessed the clergy to serve the Moleben for the Multiplication of Love and the Eradication of All Malice with the Akathist to the Lord God for Peace and Mutual Love Among Men.
Priests were also instructed to distribute the text of the services to their parishioners to be prayed at home.