NEW YORK: September 19, 2016
A Second Container of Humanitarian Aid is Sent to Ukraine

On Monday, September 12, 2016, the feast day of Holy Prince Alexander Nevsky, the heroic defender of Rus and the patron saint of Russian soldiers and of the Kuban Cossacks, a second 40-foot container of humanitarian aid collected by parishioners and organizations of the Russian Church Abroad was sent to the suffering populace of Donbass.

It is symbolic that St Alexander of Novgorod, son of Grand Prince Yaroslav of Kiev, lived during a time of terrible tribulations, when Russian found itself between two fires. The Mongol-Tatar Horde razed the city of Kiev, scattered the populations of southern Rus, who fled towards the free northern regions, while from the Christian west, waves of crusaders took advantage of Russias weakness with the blessing of the Roman pope. With prayer and faith that God is not in strength but in truth, repeating the words of the psalm Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the Lord our God. The righteous prince bravely defeated the enemy forces and defended the much-suffering Rus

At that time, Rus was united, from Novgorod and Pskov to Kiev and Lvov, but now, as our fatherland is enduring difficult times, our Orthodox Church prays that this most tragic of all wars-fratricide in its southern regions-is overcome. Since July, 2014, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia gave his blessing for the following petition for peace to be read in all churches:

O Lord Jesus Christ our God, look down with Thy merciful eye upon the sorrow and greatly-painful cry of Thy children, abiding in the Ukrainian land. Deliver Thy people from civil strife, make to cease the spilling of blood, and turn back the misfortunes set against them. Lead unto sanctuary those bereft of shelter, feed the hungry, comfort those who weep, and unite the divided. Leave not Your own flock, who abide in sorrows on account of their kinsmen, to diminish, but rather, as Thou art benevolent, give speedy reconciliation. Soften the hearts of the unmerciful and convert them to the knowledge of Thee. Grant peace to Thy Church and to Her children, that with one heart and one mouth we may glorify Thee, our Lord and Savior, unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Compared to Western Christianity, Orthodoxy always stressed doing good deeds in order to attain the Kingdom of Heaven: Faith without works is dead, and the Russian people was renowned for its responsiveness. In the Russian diaspora, which never divided the triune people of Historic Rus into three separate peoples, Belarussians, Ukrainians-Malorossy and Great Russians, the parishioners of its churches and organizations have strived to provide relief to the victims of the catastrophe in Donbass.

The coordination of efforts and growing support was sparked after the publication in the periodical Russkaya Zhizn on January 10, 2014, of an article titled APPEAL, and ending with the words If not us, then who? The collection of help for the refugees and victims of the humanitarian catastrophe in Donbass began at St Seraphim Memorial Church to the Reestablishment of Unity Within the Russian Orthodox Church in Sea Cliff, NY. The Russian diaspora properly responded to this call from various states and organizations, which was outlined in detail in the same periodical on April 16, 2016, in an article titled The Hand of Aid of the Russian Diaspora. Not only were checks sent, but packages, too, to St Seraphim Church by the end of April 2015, a 40-foot container was sent to the attention of His Eminence Metropolitan Onouphry of Kiev and All Ukraine for distribution to the people of Donetsk and Lugansk. This aid was delivered to places where aid from Russia cannot reach due to military action. After some delay, the container arrived in July 2015, and aid distributed to the need through local churches, mainly in the worst-hit regions at the front of conflict.

After Pascha in May of this year, enough goods were collected for a second container, including wheelchairs, crutches and walkers provided by Otrada, Inc., by whose efforts over half the container was filled; also collected were medical coats and surgical masks, a great deal of quality clothing, footware and household goods.

With the blessing of His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, the container was to have been sent from St Seraphim Church to St Alexander Nevsky Lavra in St Petersburg, and from there to Donetsk and Lugansk. However, new, strict customs regulations in Russia, according to which all items needed to be listed in detail, plans changed. The supplies were repackaged and stored at Aero Deluxe Shipping, Inc, and ultimately sent the same way as the first time, to the care of the Synodal Department of Humanitarian Matters of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

Attending the ceremonious sendoff of the second container from Aero Deluxe Shipping in Brooklyn, NY, were: the companys owner, Pavel Gennadievich Kalinovsky; Protopriest Serafim Gan, Chancellor of the Synod of Bishops and Rector of St Seraphim Church; Nikita Sergeevich Tregubov, President of Otrada, and his wife Maria Kirillovna; George Selinsky of St George Pathfinders and a parishioner of St Seraphim Church, and the author of this article.
Fr Serafim sprinkled the shipment with holy water as the attendees sang Save Thy People, o Lord, as Mr Kalinovsky oversaw the loading of the container. Mr Selinsky took photographs and video of the event, the result of a great deal of effort by many, including St Seraphim Parish Sisterhood, young members of St George Pathfinders and the Congress of Russian Americans.

Fr Serafim expressed heartfelt thanks to Mr Kalinovsky for his generosity and efforts, thanks to which the project was made possible, and gave him a painted icon of St Seraphim of Sarov. A decree of blessing will also be sent to him from Metropolitan Hilarion. Pavel Gennadievich thanked everyone in attendance in turn for their work, which reveals the spirit of the Russian diaspora, which never abandoned its roots. He also noted that there were many descendants of the Russian nobility who dont simply express their concern on paper, but, true to their ideals, join the Church in trying to help their compatriots in need. As it turned out, all those in attendance were in fact descendants of Russian nobility.

The Congress of Russian Americans and young scouts were also thanked for sorting and packing the goods collected by Otrada. In conclusion, Fr Serafim noted the significance of the container being shipped on the feast day of St Alexander, Defender of Rus and of our Faith, which instills in our hearts faith that our saints and the Lord Himself are with us, blessing this good deed and guaranteeing its success. Mr Kalinovsky added that this is also the holiday of the Kuban Cossacks Army, descendants of Ukrainian Zaporozhtsy, whose patron is St Alexander, and that Russia and Ukraine must eternally be united, we are one people, and we must pray that with Gods help we never again wage war upon each other.

Another container shipped by Mr Kalinovskys firm and described in an article in Russkaya Zhizn titled The Aiding Hand of the Russian Diaspora, had just arrived as well. This was a collection of 300 boxes of cultural and historical materials from Russians in America donated to the Solzhenitsyn House of the Russian Diaspora in Moscow. A group headed by Ludmila Sergeevna Obolensky-Flam thereby completed its 19-year project, having passed the baton to Ludmila Selinsky, as described in an article titled The 19 Years of Work by the Books For Russia Committee in Russkaya Zhizn published on June 18 and 25 . For the required, highly-professional work, which included the uncompensated sorting and preserving of very valuable materials for shipping, the author of this article had the honor of giving Pavel Gennadievich a decree of gratitude from Viktor Alexandrovich Moskvin, the Director the House of the Russian Diaspora, who also expressed the hope for future collaboration.

The contribution made by Russkay Zhizn should also be noted; the oldest periodical of the Russian diaspora disseminated information on this important project, thereby providing invaluable help.

With Gods help, the Hand of Aid of the Russian Diaspora will not fade, that help to the suffering and the transfer of spiritual and cultural treasures to the benefit of the Fatherland will continue, and this bright, joyful day will be entered in the history book of the Russian diaspora.

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Ludmila Polchaninoff-Selinsky


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