St. Andrew Mission

St. Andrew's Mission Today

"St. Apostle Andrew the First-Called" is a Orthodox missionary ship that makes annual trips through Siberia, visiting impoverished villages and bringing spiritual and medical care to populations that otherwise have no access to either churches or hospitals.  This year, the ship traveled from August 15 to 31st through the territory of the Iskitim and Novosibirsks dioceses of the Novosibirsk Metropolia. In the course of its travels, the floating church stopped at 19 settled locations in the Novosibirsk oblast.According to Archpriest Konstantin Rabota, head of the Missionary Department of the Novosibirsk Metropolia, approximately 600 people were baptized and approximately 5000 patients received treatment as a result of this missionary endeavor.  
A detailed chronicle of the 2013 trip written by Tatiana Petuhova is available in PDF for those who would like a glimpse of the trip's daily life.  A short presentation from life on the river mission can be viewed here.

St Andrew the First Called Mission

Siberia.  The very word evokes vast forests and labor camps buried under eternal snow.  Today, of course, Siberia defies this stereotype, as the collapse of communism has brought economic opportunity and prosperity to some of the region’s cities.  Still, there are many villages scattered throughout Siberia where life continues to be wretchedly poor and whose residents don’t have access to civilization’s basic amenities such as medical care.  The Orthodox Church has experienced a revival across Russia, but in many Siberian villages the residents are too impoverished to rebuild churches that were destroyed by the communists. Consequently, a typical village may have 1,000 residents, a school, but no medical facilities, and neither a church nor a chapel.

In 1996, the Novosibirsk Diocese and the Ministry of Social Welfare of the Novosibirsk region teamed up to find a way to minister both to the spiritual and medical needs of these Siberian villages.  Together, they founded the St. Andrew-the-First-Called Mission.  Since 2006, the Mission has been sponsored by RACS and its donors and supported by the Diocese under the direction of Archpriest Konstantin Rabota.  The Ministry of Social Welfare provides logistical assistance.

Every August, the Mission sends a steamship riverboat to far-flung Siberian villages. The boat carries 5 clergy and 12 doctors, as well as a kitchen staff, social workers, and additional supporting team members.  All are volunteers who give up their vacation time to serve the Mission.    Upon arrival at each village, the clergy and medical teams devote themselves selflessly to their task.

The clergy prepares adults and children for baptism, baptizing on average 50 people a day.  In addition, the priests serve funerals for those who have died since the boat’s last visit.  They bless homes and conduct other minor services.  They serve liturgies so that people may partake of the Holy Mysteries.  They conduct spiritual discussions with the villagers, show religious films and distribute literature to those who request it.

While the priests tend to their flock’s spiritual needs, the Mission’s medical team cares for those who require medical attention.  The medical team consists of a diverse group of specialists, including an ophthalmologist, pediatrician, endocrinologist, surgeon, neurologist, cardiologist, otolaryngologist, gynecologist, optometrist, as well as an ultrasound and EKG technician. The doctors handle a diverse range of problems, ranging from medical emergencies to yearly physicals, vaccinations, and the dispensation of eyeglasses.

The impact of the Mission since RACS sponsorship began in 2006 has been staggering.  In seven years, the missionaries have visited 136 villages.  The arrival of the Mission Boat is well advertised, and many people come from both the village where the boat makes port at night and the surrounding area.  During the Boat’s 17-day journey in 2012, 717 persons were baptized (4,526 in the years of RACS sponsorship).   4,941 people were medically screened (for a total of over 30,000 in seven years).

RACS Director Nick Buick can attest from his personal experience that the missionaries are involved in a labor of love.  The physical conditions of the voyage are reminiscent of the travels of the African Queen, with mosquitos swarming along the river.  But the villages themselves are usually situated far enough away from the river for the mosquitos to not be a problem. Despite the poverty, the villages are often quite beautiful, and can be compared to Bryte (West Sacramento) or Knight’s Ferry (Valley and Delta areas) in the 1950s. The villagers are invariably very friendly and welcoming.  As the riverboat departs each village, you hear “Please come back again!” echoing along the shore.

The 2013 Mission is a short time away, and the excitement is building.  This year, RACS volunteer project manager Ksenia Papkova will be traveling to Novosibirsk to join the missionaries on their 17-day journey.  We look forward to her sharing her impressions of the trip and of the Mission with all of us.

Finally, in 2012 RACS added a new component to the spiritual aspect of the Mission.  Five decades ago, Archpriest Seraphim Slobodskoy wrote The Law of God as an overall primer serving all Christians, especially those new to the faith.  With special permission of the Slobodskoy Family, it is our intent to provide a copy of this book to every newly baptized person served by the Mission from now on.  We have found a printer who will charge us just $5 per copy, and this is where we now appeal to you for help.

Very simply:  $5 equals one Law of God book for each new Orthodox Christian baptized during the 2013 Mission.  Please help us achieve this worthy goal!



Корабль-Церковь «Святой апостол Андрей Первозванный»

С 1996 года по реке Оби и Обскому водохранилищу совершает миссионерские поездки Корабль-Церковь «Святой апостол Андрей Первозванный». Цель миссии — исполнение духовных нужд православного населения в отдалённых сельских районах Новосибирской области.

В августе 2012 года в шестнадцатый раз состоялась миссия Корабля-Церкви.

За время просветительской деятельности в верховьях реки Обь, в пределах Новосибирской области посещено 19 населенных пунктов 4 районов, из 28-ти населенных пунктов местное население подвозилось на автотранспорте.

Итоги работы духовной миссии:
  •     Крещено 717 (1 на дому) человек;
  •     Приступило к Таинству Исповеди 122 (3 на дому) человека;
  •     Приступило к Таинству Причастия 132 (4 на дому) человека;
  •     Отпето 7 человек;
  •     Освящен 341 объект различного назначения;
  •     Проведено 53 оглашения перед Таинством Крещения.
  •     Во время поездки отслужена 1 Божественная литургия: в день празднования Успения Божьей Матери, в устроенном на     корабле храме; отслужено 3 молебна и 2 панихиды.
  •     Через проектор продемонстрировано 16 православных просветительских фильмов из серии «Вера Святых».
  •     Благотворительно распространено духовной литературы и церковной утвари на сумму 404 346 рублей.
  •     Практически для всех населенных пунктов собрана библиотечка в школу или местную библиотеку.
  •     Силами творческого коллектива собора святого Александра Невского в Сузуне дан 1 концерт духовных песнопений для   пожилых людей дома милосердия.
  •     Миссионерами было пройдено на корабле по реке Обь – 560 км, проехали на автобусе - 1864 км, всего 2424 км.

Миссионерская деятельность духовенства Новосибирской епархии проводилась совместно с медицинскими специалистами, направленными на корабль министерством здравоохранения Новосибирской области, а также при участии областного министерства социального развития.

Для обеспечения квалифицированной медицинской помощи в населенных пунктах департамент здравоохранения Новосибирской области направил 12 медицинских специалистов – (врач функциональной диагностики – УЗИ, хирург, невролог, врач функциональной диагностики – ЭКГ, офтальмолог, педиатр, эндокринолог, кардиолог, ЛОР – отоларинголог, терапевт, гинеколог, оптик).

Деятельность врачебной миссии:
  •     За время деятельности корабля-церкви количество принятых медицинскими специалистами пациентов составило 4941 человек (4326 взрослых, 615 детей).
  •     От имени Православной миссии медицинским учреждениям были переданы 35 наборов медикаментов.
  •     Распространено 458 очков и 143 аксессуара к ним.

Деятельность социальной миссии:
  •     Сотрудниками министерства социального развития Новосибирской области оказана гуманитарная помощь 1014 единицами промышленных товаров и продуктовых наборов на сумму 109 тыс. 338 рублей. Специалисты отделов пособий и социальных выплат, социального обслуживания населения, комплексных центров вели прием населения, отвечали на вопросы граждан, помогали оформлять меры социальной поддержки.
  •     Для оказания помощи нуждающимся одной православной христианкой г. Новосибирска было пожертвовано 1000 единиц промышленных товаров (женская одежда и обувь) на сумму 500 тыс. рублей.
  •     Итого была оказана гуманитарная помощь 2014 единицами промышленных товаров и продуктовых наборов на сумму 609 тыс. 338 рублей гражданам из малообеспеченных семей.




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