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The St.

Dimitrie Newsletter for winter 2007


I would like to start by thanking all of you, our donors and supporters, who have made our work here in Ro-
mania possible during this past year.. We could not be here without you., and we are grateful to you for your
prayers and support of the St. Dimitrie Project.
Quite a lot has happened since I last sent
out a printed newsletter. This past spring
Archbishop Bartolomeu appointed a full
time priest to work in our project. On the
left we see Fr. Cristi Persa blessing visitors
to our daycenter “Casa Alba” during our
annual festival in honor of our patron
saint, St. Dimitrie of Basarabov. Probably
50% of the people who use this center are
unemployed due to a mental or physical
handicap.

Related to OUR MISSION TO SERVE THE


CHURCH we have started doing alcohol
information and drug prevention programs
in the local Orthodox high school semi-
nary. On the right you will find one of our
social workers, Claudia Varga, giving a
class on HIV and drug abuse prevention.
These young people are the future of the
Church in Romania and we hope that we
can help them to know more about some
of the problems facing modern Romania.

One of the problems facing Romania today is that of


alcohol abuse and drug addiction. The Orthodox
Church recognizes this, and is making efforts to edu-
cate its clergy so that they can help their effected pa-
rishioners. On the left you see short term missionary
and OCMC board member Dr. Spero Kinnas (GOC,
Chicago) giving a presentation on the “Fetal Alcohol
Syndrome” at our training conference in Cluj last
August. The priests were very much interested in
this issue, especially those who come from rural vil-
lages, where alcohol abuse is a part of daily life.

The St. Dimitrie Project has developed


training programs about addiction designed
to meet the needs of the Church. We are
now also collaborating with Fr. Iulian (from
the Iasi archdiocese, center front of photo
to the right) in giving presentations
throughout Romania on alcoholism and
drug abuse. At this time we are the only
ones offering this kind of information to the
Church in Romania. Two other priests ac-
companied him from Iasi, one of whom is
filming the conference for distribution to
other priests.
We were fortunate this year to have Orthodox
priests skilled in addictions work to visit our
project and to do trainings for the priests here
in Romania. On the right, (on either side of
Bishop Nicodim) you will find short term mis-
sionaries Fr. George Aquaro (AOC, Los Ange-
les and Fr. Andrew Harrison, (OCA, Chicago).
The others in this photo represent the proto-
priests and social work department heads of
the Craiova archdiocese, whom we have been
working with for several years. We conducted
a training for about 40 priests at the confer-
ence that we held near Craiova.

Other short term missionaries included Sheila


Fox, (AOC, Orlando), Maria Chisnal (GOC, Ba-
hama’s) and Joanna Sedor (OCA, Detroit). Here
on the left you see Maria and Joanna working at
our project at the Tuberculosis hospital in
Savadisla. The patients were very happy to learn
about quilting and are now making everything
from quilts to pillow covers. If you are interested
in a quilt or a hand quilted pillow cover please let
me know and I’ll help you to find one.

One year ago we began doing some work in


the Republic of Moldova, just east of Roma-
nia. Moldova is the poorest country in
Europe. The Church in Moldova has wel-
comed us to start recovery programs
through “Diaconia”, the social action arm of
the Romanian Orthodox Church in Moldova.
I will be working with Fr. Ion (seen on the
right with 5 of his 7 children and Preotasa
Antonia). We will be begin a full time pres-
ence in Moldova in January of 2008.

This last picture brings joy to my heart. Four


years ago Radu was separated from his wife
and two children and had chronic unemploy-
ment because of alcoholism. Because treatment
programs are so few in Romania he had no
place to turn to for help. He found the St.
Dimitrie treatment program through the
Church, and has been sober since 2003. Today
he is reunited with his family, and thanks be to
God he found productive work at his profession,
engineering. In the picture, we were visiting a
monastery near Iasi, his home town.
On behalf of Radu, my staff, myself and
the many other people whom we serve through
the Orthodox Church I thank you, for we could
not do it without your support and prayers.