January 4, 2014
Yahoo OMG! Greece
Lyreio Children’s Institution greets with love children who are victims of child abuse, among other things, and has operated for over forty years in Lyreio, which is between Rafina and Nea Makris outside of Athens.
There on the mountain top, four nuns, Sisters Dorothea, Maria, Parthenia and Kalliniki, operate a children's village as a refuge for abused or unwanted children, and all of them call the nuns "mothers".
As "Espresso" reports, the nuns have struggled for forty years to help the children who come here for shelter, and they, 15 nuns altogether, are currently caring for 76 children between the ages of just a few days old to 18 years old.
"We were twelve girls who were 20 years old, who attended the same school in Piraeus. We went everywhere together, including of course catechetical school. Our friendship was great and our dream was common. We wanted to dedicate our lives to God, but at that time who would dare say something like that to their parents, who, among other things, had their origins in Mani. But we were determined," explains Sister Dorothea to "Espresso", describing how they decided to dedicate their lives to God, and also protect innocent children's souls.
Sister Dorothea continued: "At that time no girl could wear a cassock, unless she had the consent of her parents or was over 21 years old. So we decided to run away. And there was panic! For years they searched for us, and the police chased after us. We were in hiding lest they find us and bring us back. We found refuge in Spata, in Pentelikon, and even Davelis Cave, in Pefki.
Terrible chaos. Sometimes they located us. The police put us in a patrol car and took us back to our homes. But we did not relent. We asked three times and for three year remained hidden.
Court proceedings took place, and more. They [the parents] gave us their blessing and we began our work. We wanted to begin our monastic life by raising orphaned children, something that would fulfill our dream of marrying Christ and being mothers.
Initially we found a small church, which we fixed and repaired, and some property. However, we did not fit. Eventually in 1967 there was bestowed on us by the Holy Monastery of Penteli and the Archdiocese of Athens this area here and we built our house and homes for our children."
Of the twelve nuns who originally left their homes, five remain. Some of the girls who were raised by the nuns stayed on and became nuns themselves.
A documentary is currently being made about the nuns and the children they care for titled Μάνα (Mana).
To read the rest of this article which covers recent stories of the children and how they operate daily, see here (Greek).
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