Archive for August, 2012

The Riding Academy of Crete

Providing horseback riding   opportunities for young people with disabilities, including 

Therapeutic Riding, Hipotherapy, and Paralympic Riding

Their website: 

Home page: 

Monachos Discussion: “Special Needs Children in the Church”

Here is another discussion from pertinent to our topic. The discussion drifts toward a focus on disruption during the Divine Liturgy, what attitude to take, and how to deal with it. But there’s more, too. To access: 

St. Leodegar †678

blinding of St. Leodegar


St. Leodegar (0r Leodegarius), Bishop of Autun, was blinded, tortured, and killed for his support of a claimant to the throne, Childeric, who failed in his bid.

He is counted as an intercessor for persons who are blind, visually impaired, and also for those who have sore eyes.

 The following websites recount his life; the first in summary, the second in more detail, and the third with the most detail:

Icon from 

Orthodoxy and Disability in Thailand


Pattaya Parish Church

I discovered a ministry to persons with disability in Thailand. It was not, however, initiated by the Orthodox Church.

The Christian Care Foundation: 

 Their ministry involves the providing of homes for people (mostly children) with disabilities,  as well as rehabilitation services.

The Orthodox Church has been in Thailand since 1999, the same year I discovered that the Orthodox Church is indeed “the pillar and ground of Truth.” There are parishes under Moscow and Constantinople. Source: 

Website for the parishes under Moscow:

Article in the Bangkok Post:

Undertaking relief work- in Russia 

A Monastery is consecrated, 2011 

A Thai convert prepares for the priesthood 

The Thai convert becomes an Orthodox Christian Priest

The second Orthodox Church in Thailand, with a nice picture: 

Twelve years, and a Church is growing on the foundation that has been laid. Converts are becoming part of the leadership, and a monastery has been established. Lord willing, very soon every aspect of life- including serving the needs of people with disabilities- will be being addressed by the Church. 

O Lord, protect, preserve, confirm, strenthen, extend and increase them, and keep them in peace, always a proof against the power of hell! 

Source of Picture: 


St. John Chrysostom, Almsgiving, and Persons with Disability

St. John Chrysostom: “If you ever wish to associate with someone, make sure that you do not give your attention to those who enjoy health and wealth and fame as the world sees it, but take care of those in affliction, . . . in critical circumstances, . . . who are utterly deserted and enjoy no consolation. Put a high value on associating with these, for from them you shall receive much profit, . . . and you will do all to the glory of God. God Himself has said, ‘I am the Father of orphans and the protector of widows. (Psalms 67:6)’”

Paul Harkin, ed. Ancient Christian Writers: St. John Chrysostom’s Baptismal Instructions, 6.12, pp. 97-98

Listed below are two things I have written in regard to interaction with persons with disabilities and the mutual service that the Holy Spirit can inspire through such relationships. St. John Chrysostom infrequently specified persons with disabilities, but spoke often of the call to follow Jesus in blessing those around us in need (the poor). In whatever way a person is disabled, he has a need in that regard that may require for assistance.

And in my experience working in a group home for many years, in such relationships the giver will receive much in return. Jean Vanier of L’Arche speaks of how such relationships can bring healing through the recognition of brokenness.

In all honesty, in my thesis I struggled to establish the modern context of St. John Chrysostom’s exhortations in regard to the specific implications they have for our interactions with persons with developmental disabilities. Due to privacy concerns I could not share stories from my life in the group home. I instead sought to explore how the Orthodox Church is addressing this, and added a few thoughts of my own. I have since learned much more which I have sought to share here on Arms Open Wide.

St. John Chrysostom, Almsgiving, and Persons with Disability 


Icon from 

“For you have the poor with you always”


St. Gregory the Theologian

3 And being in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, as He sat at the table, a woman came having an alabaster flask of very costly oil of spikenard. Then she broke the flask and poured it on His head. 4 But there were some who were indignant among themselves, and said, “Why was this fragrant oil wasted? 5 For it might have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor.” And they criticized her sharply.
6 But Jesus said, “Let her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a good work for Me. 7 For you have the poor with you always, and whenever you wish you may do them good; but Me you do not have always. 8 She has done what she could. She has come beforehand to anoint My body for burial. 9 Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her.”         

{St. Mark 14:3-9; see also St. Matthew 26:10-12}

5 But the angel answered and said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. 6 He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. 7 And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him. Behold, I have told you.” . . .

16 Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had appointed for them. 17 When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted.
18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore[c] and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.                                  

{St. Matthew 28:5-7, 16-20}

 34 Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36 I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? 38 When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? 39 Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’

{St. Matthew 25:34-40}

And so we have the poor with us always, and the Lord with us always. Indeed, in the Eucharist we receive Him wholly, Body and Blood; and thereby He is with us and in us. And He is also with us, according to the Scriptures, in the person of the poor: the stranger, the prisoner, and persons who are unclothed or sick. And the list is surely meant to be  extended to all who are in dire need, though they may not fit into these specific categories – including, in some circumstances, persons with disabilities (though in other cases and situations, persons with disabilities may be more well adjusted than those not considered disabled, and are the ones called to reach out and help).

Three posts with excerpts and commentary from St. Gregory the Theologian’s three homilies “On Love of the Poor:”  & &   ttp:// 
NKJV Text:
Icon from

Davydoro, Russia: a ministry for children with disabilities

A Russian Orthodox Christian Parish in Davydoro, Russia runs a summer camp for children with disabilities. They are working on establishing a year-round rehabilitation center. Here is some news on their efforts:

“Thoughts on the “Special Chidren” (in the Russian Language) 

Translated into English: 

“Children with Disabilities”

2010: “Thoughts on Children with Disabilities” (objectives are discussed) 


Blog Stats

  • 122,711 hits
August 2012
« Jul   Sep »

%d bloggers like this: