To the Ends of the Earth

Orthodox Christian Missions

Healing for the War-Torn

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Established only five years ago, the Epiphany Convent in Alan has become a haven for hundreds from North and South Ossetia

Since ancient times, monasteries have been “rehabilitation centers,” giving succor to the orphaned and homeless, to the fallen and wayward seeking the meaning of life, to those broken by life’s blows searching for spiritual balance. Today, too, the Orthodox Church does not neglect social problems, and since society now endures new tragedies, new forms of aid are required.

Our rehabilitation center at Epiphany Convent in Alan (Northern Ossetia/Alan), was born as a result of the Beslan tragedy, at the initiative of Priest Andre Sikojev of the German Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.

It was clear in the days following the terrorist act at School No. 1, so horrific for the people of Beslan, that the spiritual trauma suffered by the victims would not heal for many long years. This means the children first of all, the ones who endured the three days of hell within the school walls. There were a total of 558 such children and adolescents under the age of 18. It was specifically with the aim of providing long-term aid of such children that the Church focused on this form of rehabilitation.

It is significant that the founding of this center for this most horrific terrorist act was the first joint project of two separate dioceses (of the ROC and ROCOR) of an as-yet-un-unified Russian Church. On March 10, 2005, in the presence of His Holiness Patriarch Alexy II, His Eminence Archbishop Feofan of Stavropol and Vladikavkaz and Archbishop Mark of Berlin and Germany signed the document on the creation of the Rehabilitation Center. Some of the financing for the project was assumed by Germany’s children aid group KinderNothilfe, as well as parishes of ROCOR’s Australian Diocese, headed by His Eminence, then Archbishop, now Metropolitan Hilarion. This project, which future historians of the Russian Orthodox Church might deem historic, gave life to the Center, which has become a saving grace for hundreds of suffering children.

Since the terrorist act, nuns of Alan’s convent have had constant contact with the victims. First this was mostly joint prayer, then, a year and a half ago, the Rehabilitation Center opened and received the first Beslan families. Since then, with every new group of victims, the nuns and staff, consisting of professional psychiatrists, have become more and more convinced of the need to continue such treatment….

The entire article is on the ROCOR website, located here.
The icon is the Mother of God, Joy of All Who Sorrow. Lord have mercy.

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Written by Stephen

August 10, 2009 at 6:38 pm

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