On June 18, 2023, the Polish Orthodox Church provided an update on the support for Ukrainian refugees made possible by the fundraising efforts of the Orthodox Church in America.
A video update explained that the funds collected by the OCA enabled two separate programs of Polish language instruction for refugees in 28 groups of students across 19 locations in Poland. These groups totaled 580 students, with 535 graduates of the programs. These sessions ran from March 2022 to April 2023.
His Beatitude Metropolitan Sawa offered his blessing and gratitude for the programs saying, “I want to thank you very much for your cooperation and all your help. Persevere in the zeal that is in you today. Always help anyone in need. God bless you.”
Anastazja Jaszczuk, a Polish language teacher from Ukraine, has stayed with her students as they improved their skills and advanced through the course. She remarked, “[The students] are doing very well. We have been meeting some people in classes for a year now and I must say that I see a big difference and huge progress.” She described the impact these language lessons are directly having on the lives of the students saying, “One person was able to find a job in his profession, someone else found a better job than he had at the beginning, just after arriving in Poland, someone else managed to settle an important matter in the office or hospital. Students say that thanks to this course, they can feel comfortable in Poland.”
Archpriest Doroteusz Sawick, the ELEOS charity’s Executive Director, spoke about the broader impact of Polish language instruction for these refugees and their families. He said, “Since the beginning of the war, more than two thousand people from Ukraine have come to Poland and, thanks to learning Polish, they find work here, integrate with our society, and send their children to Polish schools. Without knowledge of the Polish language, there would be no such effect [and] without the support of the Orthodox Church in America, there would be no Polish language teaching. Lessons take place in parish halls, which were organized thanks to your help. What’s more, you also sponsored two out of three tours of teaching Polish.”
Father Doroteusz concluded by directly speaking to the Orthodox Church in America and offering his thanks. He said, “Your sacrifices and your hard work result in the fact that our brothers from Ukraine can learn today. On behalf of the Polish Autocephalous Orthodox Church in Poland and its charity ELEOS – we would like to thank all of you brothers and sisters, faithful, hierarchy, and clergy from the OCA. God bless you! May God bless you, protect you and your families, and may our brothers always remember that they have friends in Poland and America.”
Please continue to support the refugees of the war in Ukraine.