Guest / Limited Access /

Yaroslav Rzhevsky's life as a drug abuser began at the age of 15—when he received one gram of opium for his birthday. It ended seven years later, with him in handcuffs, standing with two guards, his mother, and a Russian Orthodox monk at the entrance to the Charitable Center of St. John of Kronstadt in Moscow.

Anatoly Berestov, a monk and neurologist, established the center in 1988. He believes prayer, confession, and Communion remain the most effective cures for Russia's millions of drug addicts.

An estimated 3 million Russians abuse illicit drugs. About 30 percent of Kaliningrad's 2 million citizens, for example, are drug addicts. According to The Washington Times, "Russia has become the world's new drug trafficking center for the Colombia drug cartel."

Berestov wanted something uniquely Orthodox that would address the "spirituality and mentality" of Russians, who predominantly adhere to Orthodoxy. He calls the result a "God-centered" program. Berestov's facility employs priests, medical doctors, psychotherapists, psychologists and catechism teachers—all Orthodox Christians.

Each client at the Charitable Center—roughly 2,500 so far—participates in Orthodox worship, including confession, Communion, and other sacraments. Those never baptized into Orthodoxy must be baptized while in the program. Berestov's ultimate goal is for addicts not only to be free of their addictions but also grounded in Orthodoxy.

Berestov said he first moves his program participants "away from their social circle of drug addicts." For example, Rzhevsky lives in a Moscow compound, miles from his native Kazakhstan. The intent is to isolate him from his familiar surroundings for at least a year.

After finishing the program, some clients receive additional ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Tags:
From Issue:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Also in this Issue
Subscriber Access Only
"Top Ten News Stories, 2002"
"The events, people, and ideas of the past year that have or will significantly shape evangelical life, thought, or mission"
RecommendedRussia's Newest Law: No Evangelizing Outside of Church
Russia's Newest Law: No Evangelizing Outside of Church
(UPDATE) Putin signs new restrictions that limit where and how Christians share the gospel.
TrendingDobson Endorses Trump, While Evangelical Leaders Advise Voting for Lesser Evil
Dobson Endorses Trump, While Evangelical Leaders Advise Voting for Lesser Evil
Pew tracks how many evangelicals came to pick Trump for president.
Editor's PickMy Encounter with Ken Ham's Giant Ark
My Encounter with Ken Ham's Giant Ark
A four-hour visit to the massive replica of Noah's boat left me with a flood of questions.
Christianity Today
Russia: Liturgy vs. opium
hide thisJanuary January

In the Magazine

January 2003

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.