Al-Kafaat: Sara, Ayman, Marwa

The story of a child and two young people, a man and a woman, who are developing their abilities at the Al-Kafaat Foundation in the country of Lebanon.  To access: Al-Kafaat: Sara, Ayman, Marwa

A more detailed version of Sara’s story and others can be found on Page 33-35 of the June 2011 edition of The Word Magazine, which is published by the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America:  Al-Kafaat: Giving People with Special Needs the Ability to Live, by Andrew Dalack 

picture from Armigatus 

The Al-Kafaat catering school prepared the world’s largest Tabbouleh dish and earned a new entry in the Guinness book world records

Myriam Shwayri on the Al-Kafaat Foundation

Al-Kafaat means “abilities;” people with disabilities also have abilities, and this is the focus of this Lebanese ministry. It is a ministry that is strongly supported by the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America.

The following article is the text of a presentation given by Myriam N. Shwayri, daughter of the founder of Al-Kafaat Foundation in the country of Lebanon, during the 48th Self-Ruled Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese Convention in Montreal, Canada, on July 26, 2007. To access the presentation, click on:

The Al-Kafaàt Foundation | Orthodox Church

Also, hear an in-depth interview with Myriam on The Arabic Hour:

The website of Al-Kafaat:  The Al-Kafaàt Foundation


St. Gerasimos of Cephalonia †1579



St. Gerasimos of Cephalonia is known to be an intercessor for the mentally ill and demon possessed. His life and informative details of his Feast on Cephalonia on August 16th, as well as the Feast of the Restitution of his relics on October 20th, can be found here:

Full of Grace and Truth: St. Gerasimos of Cephalonia

The following post brings out more details of his gift of healing the demon possessed. Eight reports of miracles which occurred at the Monastery of St. Gerasimos are also related:

Mystagogy: St. Gerasimos of Keffalonia and the Demon Possessed

And here is a short video (2 minutes) which captures a portion of His Feast on Cephalonia in August 16th:

You Tube: The Holy Relic of Saint Gerasimos – Kefalonia (Greece)

icon from

A Personal Weblog & Resource Page from a Person with ACC (Agenesis of the Corpus Callosum)

This person, Joseph Galbraith, who has not only ACC, but also ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder), is highly articulate, an excellent writer. In his blog posts he weaves together personal experiences of persons with ACC and ASD (mostly his own) with in-depth facts about these conditions. Those of us who do not have these conditions, whether or not we know someone with ACC and ASD, can begin to understand people who do have them by means of his posts.

To access:

A Boy with a Hole in his Head 

Also: An insightful personal blog post from a parent of a three and a half year old daughter with ACC:

Benji Unspun 

Russia: Church and state agree to take steps to prevent abortion

The agreement includes joint actions with medical institutions for the

“creation of crisis pregnancy centers at hospitals with the participation of psychologists and participation of representatives of religious organizations of the Russian Orthodox Church in advising women who are planning to terminate the pregnancy, in medical institutions”

the two parties will also undertake

“joint efforts to provide assistance and support to pregnant women whose prenatal diagnosis indicate to the malformation of the fetus, as well as mothers who give birth to a child with developmental disabilities.”


To access the article:

Russia: Church and State Sign Agreement to Prevent Abortion

Picture from The Next Right Step: On the Consecration of Russia 



from Voices from Russia: A village makes a home for many orphans

Vologda, Oblast: a scene from a small town

In the village of Panfilovo, in Vologda Oblast, Russia 11 families adopted 22 children in 2008; the people of the town have a local tradition of doing this now for generations, and the adoptions continue.

A quote from the story, gleaned from the weblog Voices from Russia:

The villagers are fully aware of their responsibility for bringing up the adopted children. A proof of this is the weekly meetings of foster-parents. Concerning this, Natalia Treshchalova said, “We gather not only to speak of our common problems, which are numerous, but, also, to resolve them by our common effort. I can’t say that raising adopted children is all sweetness and light. No. All of the kids have their problems. But, their problems are our problems.” Practically every adopted child has serious health problems of one sort or another. Some of them lag in their mental development or have psychological disorders; others suffer from early forms of scoliosis. Since the villagers are kind-hearted and closely-knit people, they usually resolve the difficulties of their adopted children through a common effort.

And so many of the adopted childen have disabilities; the people are not looking simply for perfect, healthy children. Instead, children with disabilities are valued, and the focus of the parent’s weekly meetings is ‘the common effort” to resolve whatever difficulties there are.

If only more locales in Russia, Greece, the United States of America would make such common efforts.

As our Lord Jesus said, “the Kingdom of God is in your midst.”

For the full story, and a touching picture:

Photo from  Russian Travel Blog: Beautiful views of of a small Russian town of Vologda oblast
Posted by Sergei Rzhevsky

“We will gradually bring the children into the open world. No more planned hospitalization.”

St. Sophia and her daughters, Faith, Hope, and Charity

These children are orphans with disabilities, and the “planned hospitalization” is a mental asylum, where all children with disabilities are treated like vegetables. But the St. Sophia Orphanage in Moscow, Russia, says St. Sophia director Svetlana Emelyanova, will resist this policy. The children will learn to dress themselves; they will draw and play music, to the degree they are able. The goal is that, when the come of age, they will be able to live in their homes and not bleak institutions. The management of St. Sophia’s Orphanage was transferred from the state to the Orthodox Church in 1994. To access: St. Sophia Orphanage 

(This article, written by Andrey Kozenko, appeared in MEDUZA on April 6, 2015.)

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