The Russian Paralympians shall gather before their departure for the XIIIth Paralympic Games in Beijing for a molieben in the lower church of the Transfiguration at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow to pray for success in their athletic endeavours. The molieben shall be held on Friday, 29 August, and shall be served by Bishop Amvrosy of Bronnitsky. After the service, there shall be a formal reception for the athletes, at which Vladyki Amvrosy shall pass on to them the blessing and benediction of Patriarch Aleksei of Moscow and all the Russias, the official website of the Moscow Patriarchate reported on Tuesday.
The Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow, the largest Orthodox church in the world. The Church of the Transfiguration is the lower church of this cathedral. It was chosen for the molieben due to its easier access for the wheelchair-bound.
Traditionally, the Paralympic Games (international sports competition for the physically-handicapped: Interfax) are held after the Olympic Games, and, since 1992, they are held in the same city. In 2001, this arrangement was formalised through an agreement between the International Olympic and Paralympic Committees. The summer Paralympic Games have been held since 1960, and the winter Paralympic Games were added in 1976. In practise, the Paralympiad is as significant an event as the Olympiad itself. The name “Paralympics” is formed from the Greek prefix “para”, meaning “near”, and the last two syllables of the world “Olympics”. By this, one can see the equality in stature of the two competitions.
The invention of this form of sport for the physically-handicapped is credited to the English neurosurgeon Ludwig Gutman, who, in defiance of hoary stereotypes concerning physically-handicapped people, introduced sport into the rehabilitation regimen of patients with spinal-cord injuries. It was found that sport for the handicapped created conditions for successful vital activity, restored mental equilibrium, and made it possible for many to return to a productive life.
The summer Paralympiad shall be held this year in Beijing from 6 to 17 September, and the winter games are scheduled for Vancouver from 12 to 21 March 2010.
26 August 2008
The Paralympics are NOT a form of “Special Olympics”. They are serious sport events with no slack cut for anyone. It is as hard to win a medal at the Paralympics as it is at the Olympics. It is NOT a pity-party.
To the competitors: Good luck and Godspeed to all of you!