The Moldovan Orthodox Church gets actively involved in UNICEF social campaigns
Orthodox priests reinvigorate their social mission
CHISINAU, 28 March 2007 - UNICEF and the Orthodox Church in Moldova are planning several joint social campaigns. According to the latest polls, the Church is the institution that enjoys the greatest trust among the population with support ratings as high as 79 per cent. However, priests do not have sufficient information and training in the social field. For purpose of addressing this, the first Social Work Resource Centre for students of the University of Orthodox Theology was opened in Chisinau in February with UNICEF support. The Centre is equipped with advanced computers and specialized literature on social assistance, sociology, psychology and theology.
“It is important for the graduates of the future faculty of social assistance, just like all priests and persons acting in the name of the Church, to support families in need and children in difficulty by real actions,” stated the Pro-Rector of the University of Orthodox Theology, priest Veaceslav Cazacu at the opening of the new centre.
The new centre will improve students’ access to quality information and resources, thus helping in the professional training of future social workers and priests. These specialists will play a key role in the future strengthening of the social assistance network in Moldova.
The opening of the centre is the first step in the cooperation between UNICEF and the Orthodox Church. UNICEF Representative in Moldova, Ray Virgilio Torres, emphasized the important role played by priests and future social assistants in solving the most urgent social issues, the main victims of which are first of all children such as children in residential institutions, children subjected to domestic violence or the ones who have to beg in the street.
“We want these resources to help the Church accomplish the important mission it has in each community: the one of supporting families in need, helping and protecting children at risk, and promoting the family as the best environment to bring up and educate children,” - UNICEF Representative Ray Virgilio Torres
“The UNICEF contribution to the opening of the centre was a modest one. We want these resources to help the Church accomplish the important mission it has in each community: the one of supporting families in need, helping and protecting children at risk, and promoting the family as the best environment to bring up and educate children,” said Ray Virgilio Torres at the opening.
The contribution of the graduates of the Faculty of Social Assistance of the University of Orthodox Theology is very important especially given the church’s role in solving social problems. Issues the graduates will become involved in include: migration, the increase in the number of abandoned and abused children, children living with HIV, the increase in the number of divorces and excessive alcohol abuse.
There are currently 1,325 Christian Orthodox churches in the Republic of Moldova.