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MOSCOW: November 4, 2011
Bishop Panteleimon of Smolensk and Vyazemsk and Bishop Theodosius of Seattle Meet at the Synodal Department on Church Charity

On November 3, 2011, a meeting was held between His Grace Bishop Panteleimon of Smolensk and Vyazemsk, President of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Synodal Department on Church Charity, and His Grace Vicar Bishop Theodosius of Seattle of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. They decided that fifty Orthodox youth from the US will participate in the Festival of Social Technology “For Life,” an event to be held in Moscow next summer. The youth can participate as volunteers to help families with many children and at orphanages, or at homes for the ages.

During their trip to Russia, the American visitors will be offered the chance to choose whichever type of social service they like. The kids will be divided into several smaller groups according to their choices. Each group will join an organization of volunteers for Orthodox service called Miloserdiye [Charity] and help the needy. “They will join the volunteers and see how ordinary people in Moscow live, and how these volunteers help them,” said Bishop Panteleimon. “This will be a revelation for them. They will see how families with many children are helped, or how a woman who is bedridden is tended to by volunteers, or a family with an invalid child.” Vladyka Theodosius remarked that this experience will be very valuable for the Americans. “Some of our parishioners do not know what to do if their first child, so long awaited, prayed for so hard, is born sick,” he added. “Sometimes they want to give him away, or they disappear for a while, because they are too timid to come to church. That is why visiting places where sick children live will help to support them.”

The young Orthodox Americans will also have the opportunity to participate in helping the homeless, in almshouses, a drug rehabilitation center, they will visit Smolensk Seminary and a rehab center for adolescent criminals. The final program will be developed later.

Also participating in the meeting were Protopriest Andrei Sommer, Vice President of the Synodal Youth Department of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia from New York, Marina Vasilieva, Vice President of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Synodal Department on Church Charity, its Head of the Defense of Mothers’ Rights and Family Values, Sergei Chesnokov, President of the International Festival of Social Technology and the Defense of Family Values “For Life,” and Alexander Chernavsky, Vice President of the Pokrov Fund.

Kirill Milovidov