Orthodox Priests to Help Russia’s Emergencies Ministry

MOSCOW, March 10 (RIA Novosti) – Russian Orthodox priests will soon join the Emergencies Ministry’s brigades of psychologists in their work at the sites of accidents and natural disasters, the Moscow Patriarchate reported.

Under the new agreement, the ministry will inform of new disasters the assistance team of specially trained clergymen, sisters of mercy and lay volunteers affiliated with the Church, while a special aircraft will fly them to a response center, the patriarchate reported on Saturday.

The Russian Orthodox Church reached the agreement with Emergencies Minister Vladimir Puchkov on Thursday after bishop Pantaleon had consecrated the ministry’s new center of psychological aid building.

The priests will operate as part of the response brigades of the center, which is headed by former Emergencies Minister Sergei Shoigu’s daughter, Yulia.

It was not immediately clear whether representatives of any other confessions would be also allowed to assist people at disaster sites.

According to the Moscow Patriarchate, over 8,000 volunteers of the Orthodox Church helped those hit by the 2010 wildfires, while priests provided needed psychological assistance soon after the 2011 terrorist bombing at Domodedovo airport.


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