His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia encouraged the faithful to support prison ministry to the best of their ability, reminding that its main goal is to help inmates change for the better.
“I encourage you to offer your heartfelt prayers for those who are in prison and to take part to the best of your ability in supporting the mission of the prison ministry,” the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church said in his address on the occasion of the charity event “Day of Mercy and Compassion for All in the Chains of Prison,” which took place on December 19, the commemoration day of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker.
His Holiness Patriarch Kirill noted that “the mournful time of imprisonment often becomes a period of rethinking one’s life, repentance and acquiring the first religious experience” for a person who, willingly or unwittingly, violated the law.
“Left without the usual comforts and having lost communication with their family and friends, many inmates begin to evaluate themselves differently and realize that only God is always there, only with Him you can talk at any moment and about everything, only He is able to help when, it would seem, no one can help anymore,” said the Patriarch.
In such situations, Patriarch Kirill added, “the word of the pastors of the Church has a special meaning for the correction of a person and the transformation of his soul.”
“Through their labors, as well as the efforts of many lay volunteers, the mission of the prison ministry is being implemented, the purpose of which is to spiritually support the prisoners, help them change for the better and find the joy of life with Christ,” the Primate of the Russian Church emphasized.
Noting that in the context of the coronavirus pandemic, everyone felt “how important … the support of one’s family and friends is”, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill pointed out that “a word of consolation for a person who has been imprisoned for a long time” is even more significant. That is why, concluded the Patriarch, it is crucially important to show “compassion and love” towards such people.