On Saturday, February 12, His Eminence Archbishop Calinic of Argeș and Muscel blessed the Ecclesiastical Settlement of Christian-Orthodox Mission in the village of Mănicești, Argeș County, that will provide care for people with hearing and speech impairments.
After the blessing service, the archbishop celebrated the Divine Liturgy at the Settlement’s church of Saint Meletius.
In his speech, Archbishop Calinic referred to the Archdiocese’s pastoral work among faithful with hearing and speech impairments, a mission that began 25 years ago.
Archbishop Calinic of Argeș is the one who submitted in 1999 a program on religious assistance to people with hearing impairments at the national level, a program that the Holy Synod approved and based on which dozens of places of worship or social centres for the deaf were founded in recent years.
The works at the centre in Mănicești started in 2017. Fr. Constantin Onu coordinated the project under the supervision of the Church Buildings Department of the Archdiocese of Argeș and Muscel.
“Saint Meletius is the patron of this place, and in this way, His Eminence has offered the blessing for a settlement for the formation and deepening of the sign language for people with hearing and speech impairments,” Archimandrite Caliopie Ichim, diocesan counsellor, told Trinitas TV.
“After the Revolution, we found openness from the Romanian Orthodox Church. Since 1996 we have had the first priest who knows sign language. We are people just like you, we live among you, we only differ in the language we use,” said Mihai Grecu, president of the National Association of the Deaf in Romania.
At the end, the founders, donors and sponsors of the Settlement received diplomas.
The ensemble consists of the church of Saint Meletius, a chapel, an outdoor altar, the cell of St. John Jacob and socio-educational spaces for the care of residents.