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Delegation of international Christian organizations visited refugees in Rostov Region

DECR Communication Service, 27.05.2022. 

Fr om May 22 to 25, 2025, a delegation of the World Council of Churches and the ACT Alliance (Actions by Churches Together), an inter-Christian charitable organization, with a blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, visited the Dioceses of Rostov and Shakhtinsk to see the work carried out by the Russian Orthodox Church to help people affected by the conflict in Ukraine.

Participating in the trip were ACT Alliance general secretary Rudelmar Bueno de Faria, WCC deputy general secretary Dr Isabel Apawo Phiri, vice-chairman of the WCC commission “Churches in International Affairs” Peter Nigel Prove, head of the ACT Alliance humanitarian program Niall O’Rourke, and WCC communicator Albin Matthias Hillert.

From the Department for External Church Relations, there were Hieromonk Stephan (Igumnov), DECR secretary for inter-Christian relations, and D. E. Arakelian, an advisor of the secretariat for inter-Christian relations.

On May 23, the delegation visited the Cathedral of the Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos in Rostov-on-Don and the administrative center of the Metropolis of Don, wh ere they met with Metropolitan Merkuriy of Rostov and Novocherkassk. Welcoming the delegation, His Eminence stressed the importance of cooperation between the Russian Orthodox Church and international Christian organizations in humanitarian work and joint witness to the traditional moral values for the sake of peaceful coexistence of nations.

On the same day, the delegation visited the storehouse of the diocesan humanitarian center in which church volunteers sort out consignments coming from all the dioceses of the Russian Orthodox Church.

The delegation visited the Romashka fitness center arranged as a temporary accommodation station for orphans evacuated from Donetsk and a temporary accommodation station for refugees at the Solnechny fitness center at the Neklinovsky district, Rostov region. The guests had an opportunity to talk with people there, who had to leave the conflict zone, as well as with priests taking care of them, volunteers and temporary accommodation managers.

In Taganrog, the delegation met with the leaders of the Taganrog Deanery who take care of people who are given asylum in the south-west of the Rostov region. They discussed practical problems involved in the Church’s work to help refugees in the region. In the St. Nicholas Church in Taganrog, the guests venerated the relics of St. Paul of Taganrog.

On May 24, the delegation visited the Convent of Iveron in Rostov-on-Don. They were warmly welcomed by the Mother Superior Rachel (Kovaleva). The guests had a talk with refugees - large families from Donbass who are staying in the convent with its full support.

The WCC and ACT representatives also visited the Church of the Protecting Veil in Rostov-on-Don. In the territory of the church, there is an ecclesial humanitarian aid distribution center, the largest one in the Metropolis of Don. The rector of the church, leader of the center and chairman of the diocesan department for charity and social service, Rev. Yevgeniy Osyak, introduced the guests to the work of the center. He told the guests about the Diocese of Rostov’s work with refugees, including those who are in the greatest need: large families and children with disabilities. The delegation had an opportunity to talk with refugees who come to the canter to receive aid and to put their questions to volunteers and clergy who participate in the functioning of the center.

Then the guests visited the Church of Our Lady of Don in the city of Novoshakhtinsk and the Diocese of Shakhtinsk’s humanitarian aid distribution center located in the church’s territory. This center is a humanitarian aid station closest to Lugansk; it helps refugees immediately after they cross the border. The delegation visited the Cathedral of the Protecting Veil in the city of Shakhty and a temporary accommodation center for refugees at the Orthodox Orphanage of St. Paraskeva in Manych Cossack village. At all these stations, the clergy of the diocese organized meetings of the delegation with refugees who told them about the help given to them by the Russian Orthodox Church.

 

Earlier, on March 14-18, 2022, the WCC and ACT Alliance delegation made a similar visit to Hungary and Romania to meet with Ukrainian refugees accommodated there.

 

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