Address of Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia for International Day for Protection of Children

  Moscow May 29, 2016


"Most Reverend archpastors, honorable presbyters and deacons, dear brothers and sisters in Christ!

June 1 will mark the International Day for the Protection of Children, which is annually held by the initiative of the United Nations. This commemorative day is meant to remind us of the huge responsibility to the coming generation, entrusted to us by the Creator.

It is no accident that Holy Scripture calls children a heritage from the Lord and a reward from him (Ps. 126:3), pointing out that thanks to this greatest Divine gift man has the unique opportunity to feel his participation in the generation of new life. However, speaking of the protection of children,” noted the Patriarch, “people often forget that caring for the welfare of a child is a theme not for abstract philosophical discussions and reflection, but one of the most pressing questions of our times. Firstly in connection with this problem of abortion I am especially concerned about this as the Patriarch, as the Primate of the Church.

Even dry quotes of the official statistics make us inwardly shudder with horror: in 2015 alone in our country there were 764,000 medical terminations of pregnancy. It’s difficult to even imagine the true magnitude of this tragedy. Abortion has become truly a national disaster, yearly claiming the lives of more than a million of our fellow countrymen.

I am convinced that one of our most important steps for overcoming this problem is timely and comprehensive help for women finding themselves in a crisis situation. The Church is taking the most active and dynamic role in resolving this question, organizing special shelters and humanitarian centers to which pregnant women and those already with children can turn, including for financial support. Even a little help can convince a woman to refuse an abortion or the decision to leave her child in the maternity ward.

To help women finding themselves in difficult circumstances, and to open new social centers, on this day of the Resurrection I call upon you to respond to my entreaty and offer what you can for this blessed Church-wide endeavor. The collected offerings will be sent to the account of the Synodal Department for Church Charity and Social Services, which will take up the responsibility for distributing the funds and organizing centers for humanitarian aid.

May God’s blessing be with all of you.”

+ KIRILL, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia

* * *

There are currently twenty-nine Church shelters for women in difficult situations in Russia, from Kaliningrad to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. Most of them were created in recent years: five years ago there was only one such Church shelter in Russia.

There are also more than sixty active Church humanitarian centers in Russia, in which those in need can receive free food, hygiene products, strollers, children’s beds, etc. Thanks to a new collection, new humanitarian aid centers are planned to be opened in those regions where there is as yet no such Church institution.

Translated by Jesse Dominick


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