Orthodox Charity Refectory
|Main dining hall of the refectory|
The Orthodox refectory at our cloister has been created and is still supported solely by the donations of pious Orthodox Christians who are helping the monastery. To their credit be it said that their cares never abandoned this establishment. At the foundation of this God-pleasing undertaking certainly laid the Christian attitude towards unfortunate people, love and respect for each of them as for God’s image. Therefore, probably the most important thing that has been achieved during the years of the existence of this refectory — is the creation of a cozy atmosphere, and the personnel’s friendliness to every visitor. No doubt, this is very important for people who are used to indifference or contempt.
The refectory was opened in the beginning of 1997, and on extent of almost two years it served about 300 people daily. In March of 1999, the refectory was transferred to a new, more comfortable building that has 2 spacious dining halls and back rooms.
|The refectory building|
Every day, without holidays or break, the doors of the refectory are open for anyone needing help. There are quite a few people. More than 1400 people a day — invalids, pensioners, children from underprivileged families with many children, all kinds of needy people receive free meals here. More than 600 elderly, ill, and bedridden people receive their meals at home with the help of social workers. Some people are given day rations on a weekly basis.
Of course, in the first years of the existence of refectory, many problems that were hard to solve rose before our guardians and us. Today, with God’s grace, the refectory’s work is quite stable, everything here is thought-through and well organized, so there is never fuss or jams. All visitors are allotted their time space, there are coupons given for a certain time, so that everyone would be able to partake of a delicious, hot — just off the oven dinner consisting of 3 courses and, without fail, home-made batch. During Lents and fasting days set by the Orthodox Church, a lentil menu is observed, while during all other times both meat and dairy dishes are served.
|The tables are laid 18 times a day|
There are 26 people working at the refectory, among them two shift crews of professional cooks. The staff is always considerate and friendly. Also the interior of the refectory is pleasing for the eye: two light dining halls, with icons and icon-lamps on the walls; flowers and tablecloths on the tables. Twice a week organized discussions on spiritual topics are conducted with staff and visitors. The hall is always full then, sometimes there is even not enough room for everyone willing to hear the discussion. This is not surprising, since spiritual food is just as essential for human soul, as the regular food is essential for supporting our physical strength, and the Savior Himself said: “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” (Mth. 4:4)