Autism in Russia

Nikolai Diligentsky

Concealed Lives: Autism in Russia

by DMITRY GOLUBOVSKY and SVETLANA REITER

 February 24, 2011 

 An article relating the ongoing stories of a number of persons with autism in Russia, with some commentary on the state of the art of relating to such persons in Russia. Two organizations are listed as addressing this; one in St. Petersburg: «Отцы и дети» (English translation: Fathers and Children ) and one in Moscow: Centre for Remedial Education (English translation)

Some other, older reports on Russian Orthodox Christian koinonia to persons with autism

East-West Church & Ministry Report, Fall 2005: Russian Orthodox Social Ministry in Post-Soviet Society, by Roman Lunkin

. . . . Father Superior Triphon (Plotnikov) of the Antoniev-Syiski Monastery of the Archangel Eparchy is extremely active and open to fresh ideas. He is well liked by government authorities and local businessmen, with the latter providing him with material aid. Under his leadership, the monastery has revived the tradition of social ministry and enlightenment typical of northern cloisters. Over ten years the monastery was minimally restored and refurbished, but its social activity, rare for a semi-destroyed monastery, is remarkable. As Father Triphon says, “The main thing is to help people; the stones can wait.” The monastery cares for poor families, needy and autistic children, and those ill with cancer. At any one time, dozens of homeless live in the monastery. There they are provided with shelter, food, and work. In neighboring villages, monks periodically have services and distribute religious literature. The monastery supports an orphanage in Emetsk and has even organized agricultural production which, in the opinion of Father Superior Triphon, “must become an example and school for local peasantry, a form of mission and preaching of the Christian attitude to work because we do need a close and genuine connection with local peasants. Otherwise, what kind of Christians are we?” . . . .

Russian Orthodox Church Disability-Related News

(from a webpage no longer extant)

2/18/2009 — The Stavropol Theological Seminary takes under its patronage autistic children. On February 14, some local parents with their children suffered from autism came to the seminary church of St. Ignatiy Bryanchaninov. There are different approaches to autism and among scientists as well. Some people consider it as a feature of personality, others as a serious mental disorder. In any case the absence of necessity in joint activity and communication, desire to avoid or limit contacts with people – all these create problems for their associates and for autistic people themselves, and most of all for children.

 That is why the parents of autistic children turned to Archbishop Feofan of Stavropol and Vladikavkaz  and asked to help them in religious  and mental development of their children and their churching. With the blessing of the Archbishop the Stavropol Theological Seminary took under its patronage autistic children. On February 14, Archimandrite Roman (Lukin) held the moleben on the occasion of the beginning of a good deed at the St. Ignatiy church of the Stavropol Theological Seminary. After the moleben a discussion with the parents was held. Such meetings will become regular, and they will be held on Saturdays every week. Orthodox psychologists will help teachers and students of the seminary. 

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