11/21/2019, 11.55
RUSSIA
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Russian Orthodox Church launches Mercy Buses

by Vladimir Rozanskij

They offer first aid to the homeless and needy of any nationality, social condition, or religious denomination. The bus tours the city every Sunday from 9 am to late evening with volunteer professional doctors and nurses. At present, the Russian Orthodox Church organizes 90 shelters, 8 heating points, 450 canteens for the poor and 12 “mercy buses " in various cities of Russia.

Moscow (AsiaNews) - On November 24th, Sunday, in St. Petersburg, the first "Mercy Bus" organized by the Russian Orthodox metropolis in the northern capital will be blessed. In it the homeless and the needy who find themselves on the street will receive medical first aid, regardless of nationality, social status, religious denomination, with or without documents.

The charitable project includes a series of cars or buses for every need, both medical and care-giving, including the distribution of hot meals, clothes and medicines, transport of humanitarian loads and social assistance for those who find themselves in difficult situations, and in general for the homeless.

The blessing of the Bus will take place in the territory of the Church of the Annunciation in Prospekt Pisarevskij, in a central area of ​​St. Petersburg. The Bus will tour the city every Sunday from 9 am until late evening, depending on the needs, with some meeting points set up for everyone. In Ria-Novosti the representatives of the St. Petersburg metropolis have declared that in the future the service will be extended to weekdays.

On the buses there will be voluntary professional doctors and nurses, members of the "Hospital of charity" and of the ecclesiastical club "Koinonia", who will visit, treat wounds, bandage and administer medicines without prescription, providing first aid to the nearest hospital . It will also be possible to carry out HIV tests and other medical procedures, which have not been accessible in initiatives of this kind so far.

The initiative joins other similar groups already active in St. Petersburg, especially for the homeless, such as the "Night Bus" of the "The Overnight" association and other "buses of mercy" of the "Diakonia" foundation and of the foundation "Saint Demetrios of Thessaloniki”, to which is now added directly the metropolis headed by Archbishop Varsonofij (Sudakov).

Until last February, the Metropolitan was also head of the administration of the Moscow patriarchate, which forced him to divide himself between the Russian "two capitals". He himself asked to be able to devote himself only to his great diocese, and charitable projects have the fullest support from him today.

According to information from the charitable department of the Moscow patriarchate, at present the Russian Orthodox Church organizes 90 shelters, 8 heating points, 450 canteens for the poor and 12 "buses of mercy" in various cities of Russia.

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