There is a special place in heaven reserved for this boy. He’s just going to have to wait a century, or so.
If any women out there among my readers need a good cry today, please read on. Linked below is a heartwarming film about the Monastery of the Holy Ascension in Banchen, Ukraine which is about 7 kilometers from the Romanian border. The monastery has become an orphanage, hospice, and home to over 200 children. Some of the kids are profoundly disabled. Many were simply abandoned by parents who did not want them. The brothers and sisters of this community who have taken vows of celibacy, prayer, and obedience have become mothers and fathers in every sense of the word.
The abbot is Fr. Michael who started the monastery with four other monks in 1994, and you will see that he has accomplished much since then. Recently I read that Fr. Michael has been made a bishop, but he is still the abbot.
This 55-minute documentary is not in English, but it really needs no translation.
The film is titled “Forpost” (Outpost) – What the Church Can Accomplish”
They were kind of like a Russian version of the Swiss Family Robinson. I read about this family nearly 25-years ago and am still amazed. There are any number of lessons that can be learned in their story of survival. In their poverty and isolation they led extremely rich lives and had everything they needed as long as they had each other. The family were Old Believers, a branch of Orthodox Christians who refused to accept church reforms instituted by Peter the Great in the 17th Century. There was severe religious persecution for 70-years in the former Soviet Union, and then there was 1937. Many ex-Soviets still recall the particularly brutal year of 1937 with horror. Who can blame them for running and staying hidden. I think that faith and family is what sustained them. The surviving daughter Agafia is still there in the Siberian taiga, alone, now in her seventies.