The second Orthodox Volunteer Day: what happened?
The Second Orthodox Volunteer Day has taken place on July 2, 2016 in Munich and was timed to the commemoration of St. John of Shangai and San-Francisco
The event was attended by about 50 volunteers who came from 15 points of the European continent, from Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Since the meeting was held in Germany, most of the participants came from German cities: Berlin, Munich, Dusseldorf, Cologne, Bonn, Dortmund, Wiesbaden, Baden-Baden, Stuttgart and others.
The Day was organized by the Russian Orthodox Diakonia in Europe “Good Deed”, an organization established in March 2012 under the direction of Alina Titova. Every year Diakonia helps to about 40 sick children who come for a medical treatment in Europe from the countries of former Soviet Union. The organization is active in the various areas of social service: the interaction with German clinics and funds (Diakonia mediates the financial support of German funds and private donors to cover medical expenses for a total amount of about EUR 20,000 per year), supplying medical equipment, volunteer training, spiritual and psychological support, meetings with the priests, organization of charity fairs and events, translations.
Representatives of local diakonic groups of “Good Deed” and colleagues from other volunteer organizations have exchanged their experiences and discussed issues and problems related to the care of patients, interaction of volunteers with each other, the organization of the volunteer movement in the parishes and the spiritual dimension of the volunteer service. The archpriests Ilya Limberger (Stuttgart), Nikolai Zabelich (Munich) and Nikolai Artemoff (Munich) have actively participated in discussions and answered the questions.
An especially significant moment for all participants of the Day was the arrival of Bishop Panteleimon of Orekhovo-Zuyevo, chairman of the Synodal Department for Church Charity and Social Service. It is the second year the bishop takes part in the event. In a conversation with the volunteers, Bishop Panteleimon has paid a special attention to the significance of suffering in earthy life and called for volunteers for a sacrificial love for the neighbor: “You should not shut yourself off. If our spiritual life is only limited to prayer, fasting and the observance of religious rites – this is only the outward doing that is not always useful for our soul. Only if we donate our time and energy to those who need our help, we would fully fulfill the second commandment of Christ – love thy neighbor as thyself. It is this love that will save the world. “
On Sunday July 3rd, the volunteers and their pastors prayed together at the Divine Liturgy in the Cathedral of the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors Russian and St. Nicholas. After the service, the summary of the Orthodox Volunteer Day has been presented and the main goals and objectives for the development of volunteering in Europe have been formulated.
In accordance with the tradition to hold the Orthodox Volunteer Day at the first Saturday in July, the next Day will take place on July 1st , 2017. The location is not certain yet, the information will be published at the web-site orthodiakonia.ru