Romanian monks welcome Ukraine refugees to 15th-century monastery

Foto: Inquam / PhotosOvidiu Micsik

Orthodox monks at the remote 15th-century Putna Monastery in the hills of  northeastern Romania have opened its doors to Ukrainians fleeing war.

‘The majority of people want to reach their final destination, usually somewhere in the west, as soon as possible, and if they can, they choose to spend the night near the border towns,’  Father Gherasim told Reuters.

‘Putna is a little more remote, but for those who are not in a rush, they are not crowded here, each family have their own room. I see them go to church and praying, getting comfort, it helps a lot,” he said in a photo essay published by the Guardian.

Orthodox monks have a permanent presence at the Siret border which is about 50 kilometers southwest of the border.

The monks are providing food, clothes, supplies and accommodation to refugees who have fled Ukraine.

One photo shows Father Gherasim Soca comforting Ukrainian refugees, some  elderly, who have found solace and a warm welcome at the monastery.

Men aged 18-60 are not allowed to leave Ukraine which is under martial law. Three generations from one family sometimes travel together.

One photo shows a couple taken from behind. The man left Ukraine on his Romanian passport.

‘We would go home in a second, our souls are so heavy,’ said one refugee.Svetlana.  ‘We are sorry we had to separate from our family. Right now we feel fear and confusion, we don’t know what to do next.’

The monastery has continued to hold masses where locals can pause and reflect on the situation over the border. During one Orthodox mass, blessings were also given for Ukrainian refugees.

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