Russian Priest in New York Saves Hard Drinking Compatriots

May 10, 2010

[Interfax, Moscow] — Orthodox priest Vadim Arefyev extends help to homeless people natives of the former USSR in New York.

He is not only a Brighton Beach spiritual pastor, but a staff member of the social service as well. The priest has been going to “raid” each Tuesday for seven years. His aim is to bring back to normal life all, who were drinking hard or drugs intoxicated for months.

Father Vadim organized a House of Diligence with a church and an orphanage for former residents of city lower depth.

Last Easter, one of them named Sergey was diagnosed “full liver cirrhosis and internal bleeding.” Doctors told Fr. Vadim to get ready to serve a requiem for the dying alcoholic.

However, all Easter night through, the priest with other parishioners prayed for Sergey’s health. Some days later, the sick regained consciousness and took communion. Four months later, Sergey’s attending physician called the priest and said that the cirrhosis had disappeared.

Church warden Alexander, a former human rights advocate from Byelorussia, was driven to the House of Diligence unconscious the same as Sergey. Now he administers the orphanage cash.

About one third of the House’s residents do not take up drinking again, while American rehabilitation centers consider it success if 6% of their patients give up drinking, the Pervy Canal has reported.


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