Caritas in Russia

"Каритас" в России

The activities of Caritas include 
all people in need, regardless of their ethnicity, 
nationality, religion, social status 
and other features

Catholic Charities existed in Russia since the foundation of first Catholic communities and parishes. For example, the Moscow parish from the very beginning of its existence in 1690 has opened a shelter. In the XIX century, everywhere in Catholic parishes were established orphanages and homes of charity, alms-houses. The charitable activities were funded through charitable gathering actions and private donations. One of the shelters for Catholic boys, which was established by Bishop Anthony Malecki at the St. Catherine Parish in St. Petersburg, has been named "Caritas".

In Soviet times, church charitable activities were forbidden.

Organized charity of the Catholic Church in Russia has revived in the late 1980s when the official process of restoration of the Catholic Church and its structures started. At the same time, there began an active support of charitable programs in Russia in the form of humanitarian aid from foreign Catholic organizations.

A huge role in the organization of Catholic charitable institutions in Russia played a priest from Germany, Monsignor Hartmut Kania (1942-2001), later appointed a rector of the Sacred Heart of Jesus parish in St. Petersburg and a Director of the "Caritas of Russia".

Russian Caritas took its first steps in Moscow in winter 1990/1991. In late 1991, after the registration of apostolic administrations in Moscow and Novosibirsk, it was decided to establish the charitable institutions "Caritas of European part of Russia" and "Caritas of Asian part of Russia" in them.

In February 1992, during the first winter assistance campaign, "Caritas" in conjunction with the Maltese Relief Services distributed 70,000 parcels to the needy residents of Moscow. Later, Caritas organizations were established in many Russian cities.

In June 1992, Moscow hosted an international seminar of "Caritas Internationalis", devoted to the organization and priorities of Caritas work in Russia and other CIS countries. There was laid down a course of a gradual transition from the distribution of humanitarian aid to diaconical activities of local parish communities. In January 1993, 6 Caritas organizations were registered in Russia.

In April 1993, the process of creating a national organization "Caritas of Russia" has begun. Until 1999, the national "Caritas" worked in Moscow, since 1999 - in St. Petersburg. In May 1995, "Caritas of Russia" was accepted as a member of the international organization "Caritas Internationalis".

Charitable projects of Caritas in Russia include the provision of emergency material assistance, primary health care and social services, rehabilitation programs, training of volunteers and the establishment of social service centers.

According to the Caritas statistics, its assistance is being provided each year in Russia to about 200 thousand people in need. In 2002, more than 1,000 volunteers participated in its activities.

"Caritas of the Mother of God Archdiocese in Moscow" The Caritas began its work in 1998, as it was officially established by a decree of the archbishop. Currently, 32 local Caritas organizations work on the territory of the Archdiocese of Mother of God, more than 600 employees and volunteers are involved in the work.

"Caritas of the Diocese of the Transfiguration in Novosibirsk" was established in 1991; its president is Bishop Joseph Werth. One of the major projects implemented by the Caritas was the construction of the St. Nicholas Orphanage in 1993-1996 in Novosibirsk. The Caritas organization currently has 13 offices, 55 staff members and 250 volunteers.

"Caritas of the Diocese of St. Joseph in Irkutsk" was established by decree of Bishop Jerzy Mazur.

"Caritas of the Diocese of St. Clement in Saratov" was established by decree of Bishop Clemens Pickel. Caritas runs 23 local offices.