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May 17, 2011

Russian Priest Helps Prostitutes Mend Their Ways

May 17, 2011

Hegumen Yevstafy (Zhakov), rector of Nativity of John the Baptist Church in the Oreshek Fortress of Shlisselburg, in the Leningrad Region, takes care of streetwalkers.

He met one girl in the street. She stopped the priest's car and offered her services. In return, Father Yevstafy offered her his help, Moskovsky Komsomolets newspaper reports Tuesday.

At the beginning, he gives the girls weekly pocket money of 5-7 thousand rubles so that they could buy themselves food and even some decent clothes. Then he tries to develop their good taste and take them out to socialize.

"It is very important; otherwise a girl who thinks she is fallen and disgraced is unable to raise her self-esteem. When she feels that she is treated with respect, as a normal person, she starts hoping for a better life," Father Yevstafy explained.

He takes the girls out to art-cafes, exhibitions, and museums and even to opera shows and helps them to start an education.

He helped one girl to buy an apartment room which she eventually sold and moved to an apartment in Gatchina, in the Leningrad Region. Now she is working as a shop assistant and has a family. He also helped another girl to enter St. Petersburg State University of Technology and Design. Upon graduation, she was successfully married and gave birth to a son.