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Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk describes the church project for rehabilitation of Syrian children injured by the war

Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk describes the church project for rehabilitation of Syrian children injured by the war
Version for print
14 March 2022 year 15:10

The Russian Orthodox Church has launched at its Damascus Representation a unique Children’s Rehabilitation and Prosthesis Center for relieving Syrian children who suffered the loss of limbs during the military conflict. Leading Russian implant doctors, as well as other medical specialists are helping them to recover and to learn to live a normal life.

On the air of the Church and the World program of Rossiya 24 TV channel, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, Chairman of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, described the project for relief to children in Syria and the Center itself, which was opened with his participation on March 6.

“A few years ago we launched a program for the rehabilitation of the Syrian children who tripped a mine or suffered otherwise from the armed conflict”, the hierarch said, “There were all kinds of situations: for instance, a boy, who later came to us for treatment in Moscow, during a classes break outside the school, was approached by a man who gave him a toy. When the man stepped aside the toy exploded in the boy’s hands to leave him without both hands”.

Many children had multiple injuries at once: some lost sight and a limb, while others lost more than one limb. 

“We have begun bringing these children to Russia”, the DECR chairman noted, pointing out that the work with such patients involves the participation of very many specialists; for if a child has lost a limb, it is not enough just to insert a prosthesis: it is necessary to teach him or her to use this device, and a victim has to go through a complex psychological rehabilitation.

“When these children arrived, they did not know how to smile and almost did not speak. When they were given paper and crayons, they chose black colour and drew rockets and bombs. This was all they had in their heads. Working with them were psychologists, rehabilitation doctors, the doctors who specialized in spinal correction (as a rule, if a child loses limbs, it affects the backbone thus changing the configuration of the body). Overall, an extensive complex work was needed”, the hierarch said.

He also reminded the audience that unlike an adult, as a child is growing, so about once in every six months, children need new prostheses, and it means that they are to be continually observed by doctors. “We very quickly realized that we could not bring children to Russia in such a regimen and give them adequate aid. For this reason, using the Damascus Representation of the Russian Orthodox Church (a four-story mansion with a ground floor and its separate entrance) we have created a Rehabilitation Center for specialists’ continued observation of the children who lost limbs and sight”, His Eminence recounted.

The opening of the unique rehabilitation center, he said, received much attention among the Syrian public: present at the launching ceremony were ministers of the Syrian Government, the mayor of Damascus, and other representative of the authorities, religious and public leaders.

Speaking about the financial support of the project, Metropolitan of Volokolamsk said, “Yes, it is very difficult today to find funds for it. However, we have appealed to the Foundation for Christian Heritage and Culture and with its support have managed to create this center and to adjust a facility of the Damascus Representation for it. We hope that in the nearest future the Foundation will consider our request to allocate funds to help us continue this noble and very important work, which was initiated with a blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia and with the participation of His Beatitude Patriarch John X of Antioch”.

DECR Communication Service/

Version: Russian, Greek

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