Archive for March, 2016

From WORD Magazine: “Ian and the Family of Believers”

Multi-sensory Worship

An excellent article by an anonymous parent of a son named Ian with autism; they have had good experiences in their Orthodox Christian Parish, in terms of receiving support and encouragement.

The multi-sensory (chants, incense, icons, etc.) and repetitious, unchanging nature of Orthodox Christian Liturgical Worship has proved to be effective means of gaining and holding young Ian’s interest. And the fellowship after Divine Liturgy has also been helpful toward Ian’s socialization.

A family with a member who is disabled often needs more support than most. An Orthodox Christian Parish draws together as a community as it embraces, serves, and receives the service of all members. “As each has a gift …”

To access: 

Ian and the Family of Believers 

Picture from Orthodox Women 

The Social Model of Disability, by Grant Carson

from © Scottish Accessible Information Forum (SAIF) 2009 ;32 pp. To access:

This online publication compares the two models in regards to disability: the medical and the social.

In the medical model, the person with the disability has the problem, and ultimately is the problem, and is addressed through assistance from government programs and charity, upon which the person with a disability is the dependent.

In the social model, which many people with disabilites have decided to adopt, exclusion is the problem. Society must remove it’s barriers, both in regard to the prevalent discriminatory attitudes as well as physical structures which stymie the free movement of people with disabilities. 

From The Social Model of Disability:


Christopher McNulty: My Mission Trip to Ukraine

clowning with the children

Here’s a story of Christopher McNulty’s 17 day mission trip to Ukraine; the Ukrainian Orthodox Christian team he participated in spent time at two orphanages; most of the orphans were children with disabilities. These short-term missionaries related and played with the children, helped them paint a mural, and took some of them on trips to a local park and into town. They also took part in the dedication of a Montessori Center at one of of the orphanages. 

Here are two web pages, the first on Christopher’s account of his time at these Ukrainian Orphanages and the second page an account of the opening of the Montessori Center for Education and Development:   My Mission Trip to Ukraine Every Child Has the Right to Develop: Grand Opening of Montessori Center at Puhachiv Orphanage 

The Blessed Herman †1054

The Blessed Herman is a pre-schism western Christian who is has been canonized as a Saint in the Roman Catholic Church. He is also counted by them to be an intercessor for those with disabilities: Blessed Herman the Disabled.

He wrote hymns which are still sung today. I have heard one of his hymns, Salve Regina, in a Western Rite Antiochian Orthodox Christian Vespers service. If we count his hymns as worthy of inclusion in our worship, we surely recognize his sanctity. Out of a good heart comes good fruit, our Lord Jesus said.

Here is a poem about him, by William Hart Hurlbut, M.D.:

I am least among the low,
I am weak and I am slow;
I can neither walk nor stand,
Nor hold a spoon in my own hand.

Like a body bound in chain,
I am on a rack of pain,
But He is God who made me so,
that His mercy I should know.

Brothers do not weep for me!
Christ, the Lord, has set me free.
All my sorrows he will bless;
Pain is not unhappiness.

From my window I look down
To the streets of yonder town,
Where the people come and go,
Reap the harvest that they sow.

Like a field of wheat and tares,
Some are lost in worldly cares;
There are hearts as black as coal,
There are cripples of the soul.

Brothers do not weep for me!
In his mercy I am free.
I can neither sow nor spin,
Yet, I am fed and clothed in Him.

I have been the donkey’s tail,
Slower than a slug or snail;
You my brothers have been kind,
Never let me lag behind.

I have been most rich in friends,
You have been my feet and hands;
All the good that I could do,
I have done because of you.

Oh my brothers, can’t you see?
You have been as Christ for me.
And in my need I know I, too,
Have become as Christ for you!

I have lived for forty years
In this wilderness of tears;
But these trials can’t compare
With the glory we will share.

I have had a voice to sing,
To rejoice in everything;
Now Love’s sweet eternal song
Breaks the darkness with the dawn.

Brother’s do not weep for me!
Christ, the Lord, has set me free.
Oh my friends, remember this:
Pain is not unhappiness.

I discovered this poem in  Father Benedict J Groeschel book, Stumbling Blocks or Stepping Stones, by the producers of the weblog Unborn Word of the Day:

 … Apparently afflicted with cleft palate, spina bifida, and cerebral palsy, Herman was born in Swabia, into the house of Althausen. Shocked that their son was nearly helpless due to the huge number of physical disabilities that were obvious at his birth, his parents gave him into the care of the abbey of Reichenau where he lived for forty years.  Becoming a monk himself, Herman used his brilliant mind to write a long, unfinished poem of deadly sins and a mathematical-astronomical treatise as well as two well known anthems to Our Lady, “Alma Redemptoris Mater” and “Salve Regina.”

The source of this profile:

See also:

Profiles of the two famous western hymns that Blessed Herman wrote:  & 

news and ministries for people with disabilities in Bulgaria

Sts. Cyril and Methodius 

The following websites are …

  • #1. & #4. are independent evaluations of how people with disabilities are faring in the country of Bulgaria
  • #2. & #3. An interview with a victim of disability discrimination in a Bulgarian Orthodox Monastery some years ago (by one person, who was found guilty of discrimination and subsequently paid a fine for this)
  • #5. A secular ministry for children with disabilities and their families in Bulgaria
  • #6. A Protestant Christian mission serving people with disabilities in Bulgaria
  • #7.  A mission of mercy for people in need (with Bulgarian Orthodox Church participation) including homes for mentally and physically disadvantaged children (23 of them)

1. Disability in Bulgaria

2. Petar Kichashki: It is unacceptable that servants of God expel people with disabilities from the temples | Maria DERMENDZHIEVA

3. Bulgarian Cleric Sentenced for Cursing the Disabled


5. Karin Dom

6. Hands of Hope

7. “merciful” & merciful: houses for mentally & physically disadvantaged children (use Google translate for the webpages children with disabilities & disabled people

icon from tobulgaria 

Disability Beatitudes: Our Lord Jesus, St. Paisios, and Marjorie Chappell

The Sermon on the Mount

First, the Beatitudes of our Lord Jesus Christ, which are for all to embrace and express by faith in the grace of God, whether disabled or not:

The Gospel of St. Matthew, chapter 5:

 And seeing the multitudes, He went up on a mountain, and when He was seated, His disciples came to Him. Then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
    For they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
    For they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
    For they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
    For they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
    For they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
    For they shall be called sons of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,
    For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. 12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

New King James Version (NKJV)

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Patristic Commentary on the Beatitudes, from In Communion, the journal and website of the Orthodox Peace Fellowship:

The Beatitudes: A Selection of Patristic Comments

Secondly: “The Beatitudes” with Elder Paisios of the Holy Mountain

  • 20 Beatitudes from the newly canonized St. Paisios; some of these beatitudes are specifically direct to persons with disabilities.
Thirdly:  modern, creative beatitudes which encourage a thoughtful and respectful way of relating to people with disabilities:

Beatitudes for Disabled People.

Blessed are you that never bids us “hurry up” and more blessed
are you that do not snatch our tasks from our hands to do them
for us, for often we need time rather than help.

Blessed are you who take time to listen to defective speech,
for you help us to know that if we persevere, we can be understood.

Blessed are you who walk with us in public places and ignore the
stares of strangers, for in your companionship we find havens of

Blessed are you who stand beside us as we enter new ventures,
for our failures will be outweighed by times we surprise ourselves
and you.

Blessed are you who ask for our help, for our greatest need is
to be needed.

Blessed are you when by all these things you assure us that the
thing that makes us individuals is not our peculiar muscles,
nor our wounded nervous system,
but is the God-given self that no infirmity can confine.

Blessed are those who realize that I am human and don’t expect me
to be saintly just because I am disabled.

Blessed are those who pick things up without being asked.

Blessed are those who understand that sometimes I am weak and
not just lazy.

Blessed are those who forget my disability of the body and see the
shape of my soul.

Blessed are those who see me as a whole person, unique and complete,
and not as a “half” and one of God’s mistakes.

Blessed are those who love me just as I am without wondering
what I might have been like.

Blessed are my friends on whom I depend,
for they are the substance and joy of my life!!!!

…by Marjorie Chappell

Source: Dream Ministries GCC: Beatitudes for Disabled People

Icon from: Curlew River: The Beatitudes and true happiness 


On the manner of Christ’s healing of the man who was deaf

His Eminence, Archbishop Demetrios, reflecting on the means by which the Lord healed a deaf man, writes,

. . .  Jesus takes the ‘man who was deaf and had an impediment in his speech’ and ‘he put his fingers into his ears, and he spat and touched his tongue’ (Mark 7:33). This therapeutic technique is reminiscent of similar occurences very familiar to people in New Testament times. As different commentators hold, however, Mark’s description has special points, such as Jesus’ prayer and sigh (7:34). thus, the scene is solemn while Jesus’ sigh, expressive of his love  for a suffering human being, fills the air with the reality of God’s mercy and affection. We should include that the specific therapeutic technique based on touch is applied to a deaf man, i.e., to a person who could understand the language of touch but not the sound of  words. Thus, it turns out that this is a further expression of understanding and affection, Here, the miraculous healing authority of Jesus is expressed in direct relation to special human needs.

Authority and Passion: Christological Aspects of the Gospel According to Mark, Demetrios Trakatellis, Archbishop of America. translated from the Greek by George K. Duvall and Harry Vulopas. Boston, Massachusetts: Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 1987, reprinted 2001, Page 45.

To Purchase: Holy Trinity Bookstore: Authority and Passion: Christological Aspects of the Gospel According to Mark

A Profile of his Eminence Archbishop Demetrios: Archbishop Demetrios  


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