08/17/2019, 11.23
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Russian Orthodox Church takes mission to drug addicts

by Vladimir Rozanskij

A day center in Moscow to assist 15 people contemporarily.  An exception to the ban on all non-profit organizations.  Bishop Panteleimon: Drug addicts, truly needy.  In Russia there are about 500 thousand drug addicts.



Moscow (AsiaNews) - On August 20, the first free private rehabilitation center for drug addicts will be inaugurated in Moscow, organized by the Orthodox Church at the Church of the Most Holy Life-giving Trinity in Kozhevniki, a central district near the "Paveletskaja" train station.  The news was released by the Moscow Patriarchate Synodal Department for Charity.

Up to 15 people can be assisted at the same time, both men and women, and those who will be accepted can then, if necessary, be sent to one of the regional centers for permanent rehabilitation, as they have specified to the Department.  The non-profit and charitable activities have in fact been banned in Russia for several years, having often been suspected of foreign interference, while every form of assistance is assured by the State, as in Soviet times.  The new recovery community therefore opens a new chapter in the field of humanitarian actions, thanks to the presence of the Orthodox Church.

Bishop Panteleimon (Shatov) of Orekhovo-Zuevo (photo 2), head of the Department for Charity, recalled that "many believe that helping addicts is not a priority, and that they must solve their problems on their own.  In reality, drug addicts are truly needy, no less than all other people who end up in misery.  The Church is ready to welcome them all, as long as the person wishes to correct his life and defeat dependence.  The doors of our new center will be open to everyone, regardless of religious denomination, age or citizenship ".

The center is organized thanks to the help of the “St John of Kronshtadt ”, based on the presidential fund for supporting social work.  Today in Russia there are almost 500 thousand drug addicts, according to statistics from the Ministry of the Interior.  70 rehabilitation centers are officially open, more than 60 rehabilitation centers and 18 re-socialization centers.  Every year the Orthodox Church opens no less than ten new structures to support the recovery of drug addicts.

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