Moscow region, Sergiev Posad, Lavra, Academy

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“The main thing is the ability to love”: bishop of Orekhovo-Zuevo Panteleimon met with the MThA students

On March 10, Bishop Panteleimon, Chairman of the Synodal Department for Charity and Social activity, made a speech in the Great Hall of the Moscow Theological Activity. He told students about Synodal Department work and emphasized the importance of participating in the church social work.

Bishop of Zvenigorod Pitirim, Rector of the Moscow Theological Academy, thanked Bishop Panteleimon for making a visit to the Academy and noted the importance of such meetings:

Your Eminence, I am very glad to welcome you here, within the walls of the Moscow Theological Academy. Unfortunately, now we do not have a special subject that would give some basics of social activity to students, although there was one before. Therefore, it is very important that you, as the head of the Synodal Department for Church Charity, is going to tell future pastors about the work that our Church is currently doing in this field».

Епископ Пантелеимон начал свое выступление со слов о любви. Он сказал, что нельзя социальную деятельность приравнивать к каким-то системам, потому что главное ее основание – идущая изнутри любовь: 

What is essential is that you get not only some academic knowledge, but also understand the main thing which is the ability to love. Social activity should be considered precisely from this point of view. You can not take it as a kind of care or just a type of activity. Genuine social service is the one which is done with love in someone’s heart».

Since the dawn of Christianity, church took care of member of its community. Apostles ordained deacons who helped people in their needs, raised money to support the poor, visited the diseased and prisoners.

Bishop Panteleimon also told about the importance of social activity in an everyday life of a priest and shared his pastoral experience of social activity done in the parish:

In the hospital church, where I have been serving for 30 years, everything started by itself. People who were ready to give help gathered together and the ones who were in need came and could get some support ... It’s good when such an activity comes naturally, when someone has a desire to do some work of love. As man is created in the way that the greatest joy for him is to give rather than accept. If we experience opposite feelings, it is an evidence that something is wrong with us. So it is important to make this joy a part of our lives and multiply it if possible. There, where the deeds of charity and mercy are done, the Lord Himself is present. And the main aim for a priest is to make other people understand this simple thing».

At the end bishop Panteleimon answered students' questions. 

Then, bishop of Zvenigorod Pitirim, Rector of the Academy, addressed students and encouraged them not to be afraid of those obstacles that might arise in the field of helping people.

Bishop Panteleimon:

Мне кажется, что вообще служение священника – это то служение, которое не может сравниться по своей важности ни с каким другим. Врач, он, конечно, важен – лечит тело, важен президент, администратор, он устраивает жизнь. Но только священник может помочь человеку победить зло в его душе, научиться любви, спасти свою душу от страстей, грехов, помочь спасению многих других людей. И, конечно же, служение каждого священника должно быть служением любви. И эту любовь он должен дарить другим, воспитывать других этой любовью и помогать другим людям тоже совершать это служение. Служение любви – это не преимущественно священническое служение, это служение, которое родственно для всех христиан. И поэтому социальное служение, говорить о нем, учиться ему, совершать – очень-очень важно». 

Background information:

The Mission Department of the Moscow Theological Academy has a diaconia sector. 

The staff of this unit consists of undergraduates, graduates and students of an icon painting faculty of the Moscow Theological Academy.

There are at about 100 events and trips to social institutions held in an academic year. 

The purpose of this activity is to give love to people in need, to comfort them and to spread the Gospel Light with hope that the grace of God might once touch their hearts, support and give strength to overcome all life troubles. 

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