Archive for October, 2011

The Various Services at Al Kafaat (Lebanon)

Al Kafaat means “abilities” in Arabic. The organization nurtures abilities on a number of levels as well as in numerous ways on each of those levels. Here are some of them:

Special Education:

Sheltered Employment:

Rehabilitation: (See also their assistance to cluster bomb victims: )

Business Support and Training for a resourceful transition (B.Start): 

Professional and University Education:

1. Catering 

2. Vocational/Technical Training (Industrial, Electronic, Automotive, Tourism, the Arts) 

3. University Education 


The Catering School’s director, Chef Ramzi, a member of the Al Kafaat Foundation Board of Trustees, put together a cookbook:

The Culinary Heritage of LEBANON

Here is a glowing review by Joumana Accad, on her website Taste of Beirut:

His father, Mr. Nadim Schwayri, the founder of Al Kafaat,  received the Antonian Gold Medal from his Eminence Metropoitan Philip for his work with people with special needs. Here’s the story, with pictures: 

As a former Protestant Evangelical Christian who once assumed that the traditional Christians in the more ancient homelands of the Faith were not very lively in the application of their Christian faith, I see now how wrong I was. I see it in my Parish, the warmth and hospitality of the cradle Orthodox Christians. I am greatly humbled, knowing that I myself am, as St. Ignatius of Antioch wrote, seeking himself to escape the condition, by martyrdom,  mostly a ghost- a man of words, lacking depth.

Lord have mercy! Lead me into the land of uprightness, comprehensive in my faith, my life, my deeds,  as Your servants at Al Kafaat are comprehensive in their efforts.

St. Lucy of Syracuse †304

St. Lucy

 The holy martyr St. Lucy of Syracuse is counted as an intercessor for persons with visual impairment. It is said she had her eyes torn out, but that God restored her sight before she died. She was also thrown in the fire but not burned. She died from a stab to the neck. Holy martyr Lucy, pray for us! 

Sources: (which includes a troparion hymn to her)

See also:

Icon from 

from atheism to faith via working with persons with profound disabilities


  from atheism to faith

through a conviction concerning the sanctity of life gained by working with people who were profoundly handicapped

(and becoming an Orthodox Christian):

Meet Johnnie Cowie and read his story here:

from ORTHODOXY AND THE WORLD, a Russian Orthodox Church Website:

St. Lawrence the Illuminator †576

5th Century Church near Spoleto

St. Lawrence is a pre-schism Saint from Syria who fled to Italy when the upholders of  Chalcedonian Definition were being persecuted under Bishop Severus in 514 A.D.  Ordained in Italy, he was Bishop of Spoleto, and founded a monastery there; he is counted as an intercessor for persons who are blind, as he was known as one who was gifted by God as a healer of blindness, both physical and spiritual.


Source of Picture: 

Fr. Dn. John Chryssavgis’ great little booklet

The Body of Christ: A Place of Welcome for People with Disabilities

can be found and ordered here

See also his “Ministry, Disability and Brokenness: Orthodox Insights into the Authority of the Priesthood:” (originally at Pacifica: Australasian Theological Studies:  Volume 12, Issue 2, June 1999 )

More on Fr. John here: 

“what if the fetus is or could be disabled?”


unborn child

“. . . People who overcome adversities challenge and enrich our world. . . .”

 Read the whole thing:

Khorea Frederica Matthewes-Green, wife of Archpriest Gregory Matthewes-Green, of Holy Cross Antiochian Orthodox Church near Baltimore, Maryland, has 70 essays in the pro-life category on her website. She has also written a book on the subject: 

Real Choices: Listening to Women, Looking for Alternatives to Abortion (1997)

Her Pro-Life Essays:

The book: 

picture from 11 Dec. 2010

children and adults with invisible disabilities

Matushka Wendy Cwiklinski wrote “Church and the Child with Invisible Disabilities” in 2006 for the Orthodox Church of America’s Resource Handbook. Though this has been posted before, it is worth posting again, for we continually need to remind ourselves to address these matters. Here’s the webpage for the article:

In addition to the websites Matushka Wendy lists at the end of her article, see the following websites which address invisible disabilities:

My Invisible Disabilities Community

Federation of Invisible Disabilities 

Federation of Invisible Disabilites Resource Kit 

Federation of Invisible Disabilities: Stories 

Invisible Disabilities 

You Tube: Understanding Invisible Disabilities

You Tube: RSD/CRPS , Pain and Living with Invisible Disabilities 

The Plight of Invisible Disabilities with Ginger Goins (to the right of the page are more videos on the subject) 

You Tube: Invisible Disabilities and Postsecondary Education

A Music Video on You Tube , sung by Johnny Cash, expressing how one person with invisible disabilities feels


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