Livadia, December 14, 2010
The abbot of the Monastery of the Transfiguration, Archimandrite Nektarios (Antonopoulos) addressed an open letter to benefactors in the Russian Orthodox community requesting help to pay debt, and for future sponsorship of the camp sessions designated for children from Russia, the Ukraine, and Belorussia. The priest noted that the camp, opened in 1971 with the support of the Thebes and Livadia metropolia, has thus far operated thanks to the efforts of the ruling hierarchs of the metropolia, personal donations by the clergy and many pious Christians in the metropolia, as well as by the Monastery of the Transfiguration.
He cited the economic crisis in Greece as a factor that has seriously impaired these benefactors’ ability to help. In 2010, the camp was forced to take out a loan to pay for its tradition of providing three camp sessions for children from Russia and the Ukraine. The camp has been inviting underprivileged children and orphans from the former Soviet Union since 2002.
Fr. Nektarios also noted that the camp is considered one of the largest of its kind in the world. Each session includes pilgrimages to the holy sites on the territory around the camp, at the base of Mt. Parnassus. It is known for its charitable program: all the costs— transportation of the children (along with medical and care personnel) to and from the camp, room and board, and local transportation—are paid for by voluntary donations from Orthodox people in Greece. Since its inception, thousands of children have visited the camp from Greece, Serbia, Poland, Romania, Jordan, Russia, the Ukraine, Byelorussia, and Uzbekistan.