Romanian Church spends millions to help Ukrainian refugees

Bucharest, March 15, 2022

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As OrthoChristian has reported several times, the Churches in Ukraine and Russia and in all neighboring countries and beyond quickly and effectively responded to the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine and in neighboring countries that are now home to hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian refugees, and they continue their blessed efforts.

Among them, the Romanian Orthodox Church quickly developed an entire infrastructure to offer comprehensive aid to refugees. According to statements from Patriarchate spokesman Vasile Bănescu on Sunday, the Church has spent well over $4 million on these efforts.

Nearly 400,000 Ukrainians have entered Romania since the fratricidal war in Ukraine began, reports the Basilica News Agency.

“The Sunday of Orthodoxy brings us to the face of Christ, but in the context in which we’re speaking, it should also bring us to the face of our neighbor,” Bănescu said on Orthodox television on Sunday.

“And our neighbor is an icon in which the image of Christ is reflected. Orthodoxy is the right path to the encounter with Christ present in the image of our tormented, hungry, refugee, tortured, worried or bombed neighbor.”

Lucian Apopei, communications director of the Archdiocese of Iași, also participated in the program. He stressed that in addition to the logistical effort, the Church is also offering spiritual comfort. For example, the Divine Liturgy was celebrated in Slavonic for refugees at the Metropolis of Iași on Sunday.

According to a separate report from the Basilica News Agency, as of March 10, 4,310 priests and volunteers had participated in charitable events, providing comprehensive assistance in teams working 8-hour shifts.

The Church has provided both money and food to the suffering refugees, and tens of thousands have benefited from translation, counseling and guidance, and medical services. Regarding accommodations, 8,174 places have been identified, including 7,521 with meal services.

Additionally, 128 humanitarian transports have bene carried out on the territory of Romania, 47 to Ukraine, and 10 to Moldova.

The volunteers of the People’s Salvation Cathedral in Bucharest are also holding blood drives to help the suffering.

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