The organizers of a recent charity concert in Lutsk can be rightfully proud: there were more than 300 participants on stage, the house was full, with spectators claiming their seats five hours before the show, and best of all, a total of 57,000 hryvnias was raised. For the last eleven years the Volyn Eparchy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church has traditionally held this concert at Christmastime. But it is not the excitement over the charity concert that pleases Nifont, Metropolitan of Lutsk and Volyn. What makes his heart rejoice is the atmosphere of goodness and love that unites people who seek to achieve the common goal of helping orphaned children. This cause shows that the church not only carries out its function of spiritual reunification but is also firmly on the side of people who are in need of material support.
The first charity concert was held eleven years ago in the ancient Church of St. Mary the Protectress. Since then even Lutsk’s largest hall at the Promin cinema has not been able to accommodate all potential spectators. Religious and lay people from other regions of Ukraine come here to acquire local experience. The program revolves around the performances of Sunday school, monastic, and church choirs, but professional singers also consider it an honor to perform here. Everyone prepares intensively for the show: this year, for example, a choir of rather elderly women from the village of Sudche, Liubeshiv district, pleasantly surprised the audience with a carol dating back to the 17th century.
The eparchy is constantly raising funds for orphans. Parishioners have always brought money before the yearly concerts, but they don’t forget about the underprivileged after the concerts. The Christmas concert is the high point for the charity. Olena Hrinchenko, chairperson of the Children’s Fund regional section, will help distribute 24,000 hryvnias of the funds raised this year to various worthy causes. Orphanages in Volodymyr-Volynsky, Lutsk, Kyvertsi and Holoven have already received 4,000 hryvnias each, while 2,000 were remitted to a family-style orphanage in the village of Cherepiv. The remaining 15,000 hryvnias are intended for the upkeep of the Lutsk Seminary of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, the only tuition-free theological institution in Ukraine. Among the seminary’s students there are many orphans, semi-orphans, and children from low-income families.