A New Jersey resident who wished to remain anonymous designated a gift of $50,000 to a worthy project – support of a remarkable orphanage in a small village of Bancheny, Ukraine, near Chernivtsi. The orphanage is affiliated with the Holy Ascension Monastery and provides care for 220 children, 40 of whom have HIV, 41 are handicapped, and 27 suffer from epilepsy.
90 monks and 65 nuns from the Holy Ascension Monastery and Boyanski convent take care of the children.
According to Archimandrite Longin (Zhar), abbot of the monastery, and founder and head of the orphanage, the money will be used to buy medication, food, clothes and other daily essentials.
Born near Chernivtsi in 1965, archimandrite Longin (then Mikhail Zhar) founded the orphanage in 1992 after adopting a six-month old AIDS orphan. After becoming tonsured in 1997, he became the abbot of the Holy Ascension male monastery (Moscow Patriarchate).
In 2008 he was named “Hero of Ukraine” by president Victor Yuschenko and received two medals for his work with orphans.