Archive for February, 2009

a disability resource: the Greek Orthodox Ladies Philoptochos Society

From the website listed below one can access “programs” and “target groups.” Among the target group categories are “disabled,” hearing impaired,” and “visually impaired.” And of course there are many other efforts as well; God’s love extends to all. Click on: – Department of Social Services

Here’s some of the efforts they support:









Effie Fokas & Lina Molokotos Liederman on social welfare in Greece

Here are some excerpts from a Greek report, which though not from the Orthodox Church itself, is very illuminating. It is entitled on “Welfare, Church, and Gender in Greece,” by Effie Fokas & Lina Molokotos Liederman:

“Beyond state benefits and the informal but important care provided by the family, social needs that are not fully satisfied by the family or the state are usually filled by private or voluntary sectors (international organisations with Greek branches, such as the Red Cross, SOS Children’s Villages, etc.) and the Church. Therefore, the Greek case is a good example of the Southern European welfare model, with a classic underdeveloped state welfare sector coupled with the important role played by the family and women in providing essential social care. In this bi-polar model, the Orthodox Church is a third source, offering a wide array of social services, including the provision of support services for women and the family (see part II). The Greek example is schematically described as a triangular welfare model (state-family/women-church), in which the family and women seem to act both as providers and receivers of social care.” p. 298

“Finally, there are a variety of state financed programmes for persons with disabilities (such as disability benefits and boarding houses for semi-independent living and full-time living for disabled persons, as well as, activity centres and summer camps for persons with disabilities) and other vulnerable groups (refugees and asylum seekers and Greek Roma communities) in collaboration with NGOs.85.” (P. 301)

“Before highlighting the Greek Church’s actual social work, it is important to note a tendency for it to not publicly promote its welfare work, primarily because it takes place at the level of local interaction between the parish priest and individuals. Furthermore, the Church considers publicising its social work to be contrary to the principles of philanthropy and the Orthodox ethos.190 Therefore, the Church’s organisations and monasteries involved in social activities also tend usually to act locally and informally and, thus, to avoid any type of public visibility of their social work, seemingly being more interested in offering social services rather than receiving public recognition for their work; in this way, they also tend to have an inward focus and operate in a closed network with minimal cooperation with other non-religious organisations involved in similar activities.” P. 318

“The Church’s social services are put into action by local parish priests and other religious and non-religious staff (paid and unpaid laymen and laywomen), working for the Church in various capacities. Moreover, the Church benefits from a large network of volunteers it has created; according to 2001 statistics, the Church has an active network of approximately 23,000 people who are utilised and mobilised on a regular basis, offering their services to the great variety of social services provided by the Church … including … “Christian Solidarity“: charitable funds established by the Archdiocese of Athens and other metropolises; they provide locally, at the parish level, material and other types of support to a variety of individuals (elderly, single mothers, people with special needs, etc), suffering from poverty and financial and social exclusion, such as shelter and food (”soup kitchens”/sisitia), scholarships, child and elderly care, blood donations, etc. In 2003, there were 1,839 such funds. … People with special needs: assistance to individuals with special needs (for example, the blind) including medical care, financial assistance, psychological counselling, institutional care, training and professional occupation and leisure, as part of a wider effort to improve their insertion and integration into Greek society. Some local metropolises, which are active in this area, employ a large number of individuals with special needs (such as in the painting of icons, in gardening, in cooking and kitchens, etc). (pp. 319-322)

The original report does not seem to be currently available online; here is a bibliographic reference to it:

MOLOKOTOS-LIEDERMAN, Lina, FOKAS, Effie, “Welfare, Church and Gender in Greece”, in Welfare, Church and Gender in Eight European Countries. Uppsala, Institute of Diaconal and Social Studies – University of Uppsala / Ed. Ninna Edgardh Beckman, 2004, p. Uppsala, Institute of Diaconal and Social Studies – University of Uppsala / Ninna Edgardh Ed Beckman, 2004, p. 288-338.

For more from Effie Fokas and Lina Molokotos Liederman, scroll to the end of the post.

And here are some previous posts of interest concerning Greek disability resources for convenient reference:

from Nov. 9, 2007:

more Greek disability websites « Arms Open Wide

from Dec. 28, 2007:

Theotokos Foundation (Greece) « Arms Open Wide

from Nov. 8, 2007:

In Greece « Arms Open Wide

from Nov. 6, 2007:

two Greek-American contributions « Arms Open Wide \

More from Effie Focas:

Islam in Europe: Diversity, Identity and Influence – Google Books Result

Religious America, Secular Europe?: A Theme and Variation – Google Books Result

Religion in the Greek public sphere

More from Lina Molokotos Liederman:

The ‘Free Monks’ Phenomenon: Music and Modernity in Contemporary Greek Orthodoxy

The Greek ID Cards Conflict: a Case Study on Religion and National Identity against the Challenges of Increasing EU Integration and Pluralism

Lina was the Orthodox Diakonia Coordinator for IOCC:

the foundation for Orthodox Psychotherapy

Very Reverend Antony Hughes

Very Reverend Antony Hughes

Here is a robust article that is at the same time very personal, accessible, and in my opinion, not all that intimidating considering the depth of the subject:

Ancestral Versus Original Sin:
An Overview with Implications for Psychotherapy

by V. Rev. Antony Hughes, M.Div
St. Mary Antiochian Orthodox Church, Cambridge, Massachusetts

to access, click here or here:

Souls in Motion Studio

Three little rag dolls sit together on the little rocking chair in our living room -which was my mother’s when she was a child- keeping Margaret and I company. They were made by an artist at the New York City studio “Souls in Motion” which provides people with mental health difficulties with a place to express themselves artistically. Here’s the story, by Julia Demaree-Raboteau, from the In Communion Magazine, which is put out by the Orthodox Peace Fellowship. click on:

Souls in Motion: A Place of Hospitality | In Communion

This article is rich with personal stories. Meet one of their artists- who I believe is the creator of our three housemates:

Then there is Mary, creator of “Bummie Nose” dolls. (“Bummie Nose” is a term of endearment.) Mary cuts, sews and stuffs her cloth dolls with great speed, braiding and twisting yarn for their elaborate hairdos. I am in charge of sewing the faces and the clothes, though I simply can’t keep up with her swift hands. We have been quite successful at finding boutiques to sell Mary’s dolls.

I got the dolls at an Orthodox Peace Fellowship Conference in 2005; Julia simply asked for a donation. Now I find they are boutique items. My mother, Marie Gall, who died in 1992 (though living in God) would have liked them.

Here’s an excerpt from Dr. Albert Raboteau, Julia’s husband, on his interactions with the Souls in Motion ministry, and their participation in an Orthodox worship service, in his book A Sorrowful Joy: click on

A Sorrowful Joy – Google Books Result

Here’s another artist associated with Souls in Motion: click on


Be sure to visit his picture gallery.

See also for another profile on the Souls in Motion Studio.

resources for depression, dejection, despondency

Here are two very substantial articles on depression, dejection, and despondency by Orthodox Christian professionals:

the Very Reverend Father George Morelli on

Depression: A Clinical and Pastoral Guide | …

and W. David Holden, LPC, CCAS, on

The Christian Ascetic Tradition on Dejection and Despondency   (Copy and Paste if necessary)

5 Russians engaged in the struggle toward mental health

From a 5 year old article in Road to Emmaus Magazine, the stories of five who have struggled with mental illness. Their names: George, Nadezhda, Tatiana, Sergei, & Michael. To access, click one of the following Google listings:

george, nadezhda, tatiana, sergei, and michael [PDF] RTE No 17 Interior File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat – View as HTML

The Orthodox Church and landmines

It was 11 years ago at the 1st International Conference on Landmines in Russia and the CIS that His Beatitude Alexy II of Russia, of blessed memory, contributed a written statement which was read at the opening plenary session. I have not been able to find this statement online, but the final statement of that conference , entitled

His Beatitude Alexy II of blessed memory

His Beatitude Alexy II of blessed memory

“New Steps for a Mine-Free Future”

which can be accessed here:

I cannot imagine Patriarch Alexy II taking any other stance than support for these folks who have spoken against landmines, which have disabled many innocent civilians, including children.

Other sites related to Orthodox Christianity and landmines:

Greece plans to destroy its landmines on Greek-Turkish border:

Russia to clear landmines in Serbia:

And here is the Church and landmines which was posted in January 2008:


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