I am indebted to my friends, Dr. William and Natalya Work, for translating this document a few months back. This is a historical work in that it represents one of the first organized attempts by the Church to address the topic of addiction and provide an outline for treatment and education strategies:
I am certain over time it will be refined and edited as the Russian Orthodox Church implements programs and finds out what works and what does not. Right now, they are still in the stage of 'throwing darts in the dark' in the sense that more of their work is theoretical rather than experiential. Over here in the US, we have almost 80 years of AA and 12-Step experience. In Russia, I'm not sure how many people there are with 20 years of sobriety via the 12 Steps. There may be a few, but public attitudes towards addiction have a long ways to go.
Now, they have folks like Igumen Jonah of Danilovsky Monastery and Dr. Evgenie Protsenko of Old World Charity who have advanced education in addiction, but they are working not only to help the people in their treatment centers, but also shift the entire Russian nation's attitude towards addiction and recovery. They are, quite literally, the Bill W. and Dr. Bob of the New Russia.
The editorial process, from what I heard, was a complicated one, made more complex because most bishops do not entirely understand addiction as presently treated as a topic. So, imagine you have to write a solution to a problem you don't really understand, then you get the picture. The truth is that getting even this document out in a recognizable form was nothing short of a miracle.
As I have mentioned before, I am looking for more official materials from the Church on the topic of addictions. If you have something, email me (my address is on the right sidebar). In the meantime, feel free to post your comments about the document. Some of those who were participants in its composition are readers of this blog, and I'm sure they'd like to hear from you.