On the Eve of the Nativity of Christ, young people from the dioceses of the Russian Diaspora visited the Russian capital of Moscow, where they participated in a youth symposium dedicated to the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia received the participants in this symposium for the first time.
Battling the cholera epidemic in Haiti alongside the ROCOR mission in Haiti involved many difficulties Lars Stuewe, a volunteer and a medical practitioner working with the Fund for Assistance, could not have been prepared for: political unrest in the country, an almost total lack of knowledge about the disease on the part of the locals, and an abundance of rumors circulating in the country.
The Stuttgart parish’s family retreat was held from October 30 to November 4, 2010 with the participation of 47 people (from 9 families). All of the participants bravely faced every challenge, difficulty, and joy of our shared outing.
Thank you for supporting the Fund for Assistance in 2010. You have enabled us to help thousands of Orthodox Christians all over the world. We need and appreciate your input in the quest to improve our activities in 2011. Please fill out this short survey to help us understand which causes you are most interested in supporting, and how we can improve. Thank you!
A major earthquake shook southern Chile on Friday. There have been no casualties reported. All members of the ROCOR mission in Chile are alive and well, although shaken up. In an email to the Fund for Assistance, Fr. Alex Aedo Vilugron, the head of the mission, said there have been 42 aftershocks since Friday. The earth kept moving on Sunday as the mission celebrated Liturgy.
Port-au-Prince - Saturday February 12 on the occasion of the first anniversary of the terrible earthquake that has forever changed the lives of every Haitian in the world, members of the ROCOR mission in Haiti sang a requiem at the Church of the Nativity of the Virgin (Port-au-Prince) in memory of all those who have fallen asleep in hope of resurrection on that terrible day, especially the reader Vladimir Randiche who went missing. The ceremony was very moving because everyone had come to mourn a mother, father, sister, brother, husband, wife, children, friends and fellow citizens.
When Julianne Martinov, age 25, of Sydney, Australia was offered a chance to participate in a youth pilgrimage to Russia, her first reaction was: “I don’t want to.” Julianne grew up in an Orthodox family, and regularly attended church. But like many ROCOR youth in their late teens, she started wondering, what is the point of leading a life so radically different from that of her non-Orthodox peers.
Three weeks spent in the company of 80 Orthodox young people during the Third Annual Orthodox Youth Fellowship in Russia this summer changed her life and her thinking.
New York - The Fund for Assistance recently gave a $10,000 grant to the Pastoral School of Chicago and Mid-America - which provides theological education to Orthodox Christians through the media of online distance education.
Tragedy has struck Japan, including many of our Orthodox Christian brothers and sisters in that nation. A powerful earthquake claimed thousands of lives, caused a tsunami and damage with fire, radiation, and blackouts.
As of this writing, it is known that at least 4 out of 150 Orthodox churches in the country have been completely destroyed, some damaged, others severely. Many parishioners are still missing but fortunately, no clergymen are yet known to have perished.
New York - Daniel, Archbishop of Tokyo, Metropolitan of All Japan sent the Fund for Assistance a letter of thanks for the support of the victims of the recent earthquake in Japan.
New York - From March 26 through March 28, a Lenten Retreat and Pastoral Conference for clergy of the Eastern American Diocese was held at St. John the Baptist Cathedral in Washington, DC. The goal of the conferences, which have been held annually for many years, is, in the words of Metropolitan Hilarion, "the fortification and renewal of that internal strength, unto the continuation of your labors in Christ's Holy Church." Conference participants took part in spiritual discussions, concelebrated at church services, confessed and communed, and shared their thoughts with fellow clergy.
Aftershock are still happening three or four times every day, and last night, another magnitude 7 earthquake occurred near Sendai, hitting the damaged building, and causing more suffering in people's hearts.
The Holy Martyr, Russian Tsar Nicolas II practiced a wonderful Easter family tradition - visiting prisoners to celebrate the Rising of Christ. Imagine him calling his aids and asking: whom shall we visit this year, where shall we find a brother in need? The emperor, his wife, daughters and son (who was not in good health) then visited most decrepit and unsightly prisons, greeted the sick prisoners and brought the joy of the Risen Christ to the incarcerated criminals.
One of the most important goals of the Fund for Assistance is to assist ROCOR clergy in need. Many clergymen have suffered materially on the back of the global recession. FFA has stepped up its efforts to provide for our priests. Reporting on clergy assistance is challenging, as many of our suffering priests do not want to advertise their troubles.
Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov, rector of the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia Church in Mulino, Oregon, USA, is in need of help. Fr. Sergei's Matushka requires urgent surgery without which she is at risk being in a wheelchair. She is only 35 years old.
Here is an excerpt from Fr. Sergi's email: "My wife has had avascular necrosis for a few years, but no medical insurance (the proverbial pre-existing condition). The bone has actually begun to crumble, so things were getting bad. Thanks to Obama, however, my wife qualified this spring for a high-risk pool plan that had recently been organized. It is not free--$414 a month--but the idea was that it would cover the surgery."
- Priest Gregoire Legoute, Port-au-Prince, May 15, 2011
Port-au-Prince, Haiti: After the January 12, 2010, earthquake, life in Haiti has become much more difficult at every level. There are now all sorts of new problems, but especially housing problems for some of our churches and believers in Jacmel, Port-au-Prince and Léogâne.
New York - Preparations for the 12th All-Diaspora Orthodox Youth Conference, sponsored by the Fund for Assistance to ROCOR (in the amount of $50,000), are heading into the home stretch, scheduled to be held in Paris from July 1-8, 2011. Registration of the young missionaries has closed, and there will be some 150 participants, of them 120 Orthodox youth from 23 dioceses in Russia and abroad, and five hierarchs from Russia, the US, France and Switzerland. Protopriest Andrei Sommer, Vice President of the Synodal Youth Department of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, spoke on this topic.
Last April Deacon Demetrio Romeo (Miami, FL) visited the Orthodox Mission in Haiti. His photos show the daily life of the mission members amid the devastation still gripping the country.
New York - Last April (18-21) Deacon Demetrio Romeo, cleric of the St. Vladimir Church in Miami, FL, flew to Haiti to meet with Haitian Orthodox who are benefiting from the Haiti Orthodox Family Relief program (HOFR) and to assess their current needs. Fr. Demetrio shared his impressions of the trip and the state of the mission with the Fund for Assistance.
New York - Recently the FFA granted $5,000 to an ailing young priest in Moscow, Russia. The 34-year old clergyman is a world-renowned liturgist and, until recently, was a very active priest. Until diagnosed with sarcoidosis, a chronic lung disease, he worked several jobs to support his young family of four, and still found time to do research projects in the field of Liturgics, publish articles, and serve, as well as participate in various church projects.
Miami, FL - In this video from Deacon Demetrio Romeo's recent trip to Haiti, you will see Fr. Gregoire and matushka Rose Legoute teaching classes, and arts and crafts to mission members, as well as a choir practice, where singers learned "Our Father" by Nikolai Kedrov.
It is difficult to talk without fervor about such an enormous event as the 12th All-Diaspora Russian Orthodox Youth Conference, which was held from July 1-7, 2011, in Paris, one of the most beautiful European capitals. It would take several pages to simply list the number of participating countries, titles of the five participating hierarchs, the divine services, lecture topics, pilgrimages and excursions. And all of that is important.
New York - In recent months, Russian media outlets have given much attention to issues pertaining to the well-being of Orthodox clergy, their ability to make a living, and their obligations to their parishioners. One of the tasks of the Fund for Assistance to ROCOR is to provide assistance to clergy of the Church Abroad in material need. Priest Alexandre Antchoutine, a cleric of the Eastern American Diocese and rector of Holy Virgin Protection Church in Glen Cove, NY, shared his thoughts and experiences on some of the difficulties facing Eastern American Diocesan clergy today.
New York - Mark Selawry was appointed by the Board as Executive Director of the Fund for Assistance, effective August 1st, 2011. He replaced V.Rev.Victor Potapov who retired from the position but is staying on with the fund as Board member.
"My name is Gary Dippel and I have been an active donor to the Fund for Assistance to ROCOR (FFA) for the last 10 years. I was born Romanian Orthodox but switched to ROCOR believing it to have the fullness of the Truth. Recently the FFA took up a cause that means a lot to me: helping our priests in need. I thought you should know why you should care about this, too."
New York – In May of this year, the Fund for Assistance announced that it would be raising funds for Matushka Elizabeth Sveshnikov, wife of Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov in Oregon. Matushka had been suffering from avascular necrosis for several years, and the femoral head of her thigh bone was beginning to disintegrate. Matushka urgently needed to undergo surgery, or else she would wind up disabled at only 35 years of age.
New York - When the fires started in Smithville,TX, Dominica McGinnis told her 4 girls to pack an overnight bag and the family evacuated their home. The next time they came back, the house the family had lived in for eight years would be destroyed together with all their possessions.
New York - With support from the Fund for Assistance to the Russian Church Abroad Deacon Andrei Psarev, instructor of canon law at Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary, attended the only international congress on eastern ecclesiastical law organized by the Society for The Law of Eastern Churches at Vienna University, Austria.
New York - True to its tradition of promoting the moral-spiritual education of ROCOR youth, the Fund for Assistance has once again sponsored all 3 St Herman's youth conferences heldthis year.
Dear friend, I greet you with the Feast of Christ’s Nativity!
From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for your support of the Fund for Assistance to the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia in 2011!
It is hard to believe that in a couple of weeks, we will already be celebrating Christmas and the New Year, gathering together with our families around the festal table and giving our children presents.
Just as any other father, I am sincerely concerned and worried for the future of my three children in the New Year, and cannot help but feel similarly for the fate of the FFA – an organization dear to me because for more than 50 years it has supported the worldwide community of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.
Located amongst Appalachian hills at Wayne, WV, the Hermitage of the Holy Cross is an English-speaking monastery under the jurisdiction of ROCOR. The 22 monastics and novices live in the communal setting, following a cenobitic rule, meaning that all things are held in common and the monastics do not keep their own possessions or money once they enter the brotherhood. Sources of income include donations, making incense in the ancient Athonite tradition, and sale of handmade bath & body products, beeswax candles, and other liturgical items and products.
The Fund for Assistance is launching a new program to support provision of clergy health insurance (ROCOR) in the United States. If your parish clergy do not have health insurance and you would like help in paying for it, please contact Lena Zezulin to discuss a cost-sharing arrangement to purchase a policy in the Orthodox Health Plan, at e-mail address email@example.com.