The Orthodox Women’s Group "Spreading of Love" develops various spiritual and social activities. This group operates in poor families, in prisons and asylums, in orphan children and helps widows, homeless and abandoned people, the sick in hospitals and at home, elderly and lonely people, unable to work and depressed, beggars etc.
These services are directed by an office which often cooperates with the social welfare office of the state, exchanging experiences for the benefit of the needy people. Aids are of different types such as food, clothing, financial assistance, etc.
It is worth mentioning the visits made to the sick people that languish in their bed, the conversations held with elderly people who are lonely and are waiting for a warm word. The prisoners enjoy when taking the message of hope and the word of salvation. Beggars earn dignity and feel equal with others when someone shares bread with them. Every week, people in need are helped by Women’s Office that is funded at 70 % by Archbishop Anastasios.
The Orthodox Women's Group was established in 1992. Since the beginning this office has developed a great activity with people in need by distributing food packets and clothing by numerous aids coming at the beginning from Greece and Cyprus, and in the following years from other European countries and the U.S.
Spiritual and Social Activities
The activists women of the Church of Tirana perform with zest and enthusiasm their spiritual and social activities. They meet every week in their traditional meeting, on Wednesday in the afternoon, under the direction of theologians and spiritual fathers, discussing different topics about orthodox faith. In order to encourage them in prayer, often they become initiators of many vigils and special services for the believers in need, conducting pilgrimages and visits to churches and monasteries of the country etc.
Meanwhile, the social activities are organized in several important directions. It is worth mentioning that many disadvantaged people are expected every week by the workers of this office, and these people come from very poor families: orphaned, disabled, abandoned, depressive people, people who beg in the streets etc. Every month, more than 400 people in need are assisted with food, clothing, medicines and financially.
Also, a special attention is paid visits to sick people, in their homes or to older believing mothers. Being close to them and their problems has become possible to be transmitted the help of the Church to resolve their spiritual and economic difficulties.
Another part of this office are the visits in the prison nr. 325 in Tirana that have started since 1998. These meetings take place twice a month and always keep alive the spirit of volunteerism. Visits are performed also in two shelters of elderly people (men and women) to the Sisters of Mother Teresa, where fruits and sweets are distributed to about 100 people.
Are organized also entertainment activities and eating meals, with the participation of older people in different environments of the Church, such as in the spiritual and educational center in "Thavor", as well as in the holy monastery of St. Vlash in Durrës.
Activities of Orthodox Women during Easter
In the period of the Great Lent and in eve of the great feast of Easter, Orthodox women develop many spiritual and social activities. They participate in meetings of Wednesdays, in the prayers and in the services of the Church, are committed to learning church hymns that speak of the Risen Christ, forming a small choir.
Among the most important social services during this period have been visiting sick people at home and in hospitals. The elderly, who are housed in the Mother Teresa’s sister’s asylum, are always part of the visits and the care shown by the group of Orthodox women. The cleric, who accompanies the volunteer women, gives the Body and Blood of Christ to the elderly. In these social services, organized by Orthodox women, on the occasion of Easter, are helped about 100 people.
Through the assistance offered by the Church of the Annunciation of the Theotokos community in Tirana, is assembling a fund that serves for the lunch of 30 elderly persons in the state asylum, in the state asylum, prepared by the activist’s women of the Church. The event begins with the red eggs and with the festive news "Christ is Risen". Also, food packages are distributed for about 500 people and poor families, to the sick, the orphans, the homeless, the crippled, the blind, beggars, etc.
Various Activities in the Context of Christmas
Christmas brings greater joy when each gives something of himself. This principle remains a source of inspiration for the volunteer’s women who serve in various activities to help people in need. December starts with a rich spiritual program that is preceded by a vigil service (a series of religious services performed during the night) organized in the church "Annunciation of Theotokos", in Tirana. Women prepare the sweet bread and wheat, as well as encourage the faithful to take part in the vigil services. The bible study and the weekly conversations under the direction of theologians is another important part of the spiritual program that affects the expansion of the religious knowledge about the meaning of Christmas.
Another dimension of the activities of the voluntary women's group is the special expectations, on Tuesday and Thursday, throughout the whole day with people in need. The Orthodox women, accompanied by clergy, visit about 100 women, the elderly and lonely in the two missionary service centers of the sisters of Mother Teresa, distributing sweets, detergents, clothes, which are made and provided by the Orthodox women.
Visits are also performed in tow prisons of Tirana, in the prison No. 325 and in the prison No. 313, which are distributed 700 packages of clothing, desserts for all people who suffer their sentences in these prisons. During this period, an important help was given also by the community of believers in the coffers of helping for the poor people in two churches in Tirana.
The Fair of the Handicrafts
In the context of the feast of the Annunciation of Theotokos, since 2006, in the introductory environment of the church of "Annunciation of Theotokos" in Tirana, is held a three-day fair. The organization and the management of all phases of this activity is performed by the Orthodox Women Group "Spreading of Love" in Tirana, which initially prepares the announcements, inviting the believers to contribute with their help through the purchase of the items.
The financial incomes from this fair are given as a gift to the children of "Home of Hope" in St. Vlash, Durrës. Women offer various crafts such as crosses made from crocheted, sweater made for children, socks, scarves, various embroidery, and some other women prepare various kinds of jams, cakes and fasting pies. In this fair are also exposed religious items, such as postcards with the Annunciation icon, icons in wood and paper, prayer ropes, etc.