ACN Project of the Week: Ecumenical Joint Support Program for Disadvantaged Women in Russia

Support for a centre working with victims of domestic violence

For almost 30 years now, in accordance with the heartfelt wish of Pope Saint John Paul II, ACN has been helping to promote fraternal dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church. The historic meeting between Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill of Moscow in February 2016 in Havana, Cuba, further opened the way to new ways and paths of dialogue between the two confessions.

An ecumenical working party was thus established and sponsored by ACN. It was tasked with the concrete implementation of the shared concerns of the two Church leaders. Some of the areas in which the two sister Churches were able to meet and collaborate was in their concern for and desire to support families, pregnant women in conflict situations and victims of domestic violence. In the eparchy of Nizhnij Novgorod, for example, ACN supported the establishment of a refuge for young mothers in need.

Supporting Women in Need

Similarly, in Velikij Rostov, and again with ACN’s support, the Orthodox Church is helping women in need—most of whom are the victims of domestic violence and human trafficking, as well as migrant women. Up to now, between 300 and 500 women have been counselled and helped annually by a six-person team of trained female counsellors. Three to four women can be accommodated, along with their children in temporary accommodations—though the actual need far outweighs the limits of the centre. Equally important is the pastoral accompaniment offered, which is available to all the women, regardless of their religious faith or denomination.

The plan going forward is to extend the accommodation spaces available to women and their children, so that up to 16 people can be given refuge for a limited period of time. As soon as a woman has managed to get her life back in reasonable order and stand on her own two feet, she leaves the centre and makes room for another woman in need.

This is a crucial project for the wellbeing of women and families in the region. We believe it is important to support them and with your help, we would like to offer this project: $75,000.

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