The Laying of the Foundation Stone of the St Hermione Home
On Wednesday April 19, 2023, a beautiful and sun-filled day that can only be described as “Xara Theou,” a longtime dream became a living reality. His Eminence, Metropolitan Alexios, of the Holy Metropolis of Atlanta officiated at the service of the Laying of the Foundation Stone for the St. Hermione Home (SHH) in Charlotte, NC. His Eminence was assisted by 13 Greek Orthodox Priests from throughout the eastern United States. Also in attendance were Gerontissa Agni, Sister Ephraimia and Sister Taxiarchia from the Holy Monastery of Panagia Prousiotissa in nearby Troy, NC. Additionally, over 200 faithful supporters and benefactors were in attendance. Construction will begin immediately.
The inspiration for the St. Hermione Home comes from the actual life of St. Hermione, one of the very first Holy Unmercenary Saints in the Orthodox Church, who lived in the first century AD. The daughter of St. Phillip the Deacon, St. Hermione trained in the medical arts. After accepting the admonition our Lord Jesus Christ as outlined in Matthew 25 to care for the “Least,” St. Hermione purchased a home and in it established both a medical clinic as well as lodging for the poor, the stranger, and the homeless. There, she healed all who came to her with illnesses of both body and soul. Like all of the Holy Unmercenary Saints, St. Hermione never accepted payment for her miraculous healings and offerings. She, as well as all of these special Unmercenary Saints, attributed these miracles to the Power of Jesus Christ, in whose Name these Saints healed.
After contemplating the life of St. Hermione, inspiration arose to emulate her ministry in Charlotte, NC. Thus, “The St. Hermione Home” (SHH) is taking form. Its mission is to provide a loving and nurturing environment for pregnant women affected by homelessness. Additionally, SHH will offer spiritual support, vocational training with an emphasis on computer skills, a two year community college degree of the resident’s choosing, parenting classes, as well as adoption services.
Another key component of the SHH is its attached Chapel dedicated to St. Hermione. As SHH strives to heal the “whole person,” the Chapel will provide a place for spiritual formation, contemplation, and growth. It will be under the direction of the Holy Monastery of Panagia Proutiotissa as its dependency, and all of the services of the Eastern Orthodox Church will be offered here.
SHH continues to enjoy a long held partnership with Shelter Health Services (SHS) located at the Salvation Army’s Center of Hope. SHS provides free medical care to all residents of the Center of Hope Shelter, and will provide both pre- and post- natal care to residents of SHH. This association with SHS is a continuation of the firmly established relationship between it and SHH ministries which includes a weekly Orthopedic clinic and weekly bible studies, prayer and counseling.
SHH is a 501c3 tax exempt entity and is Nationally Accredited (2022). While over 2 million 501c3 entities exist in the USA, only 2,000 enjoy Nationally Accreditation.
According to present plans, the construction of the Chapel and Home is projected to be completed by Spring, 2024. The Chapel will be used for Church services immediately thereafter. The Home is projected to accept its first residents during Spring, 2025, when the State of North Carolina will issue SHH a maternity license. Of note, the State of North Carolina requires a three-year waiting period after National Accreditation before they will issue a maternity home license. This Holy Icon of St Hermione that depicts both her original house of healing on her right, as well as the proposed home here in Charlotte on her left, was painted by our very own Sister Emily (Couchell) of the Holy Dormition Monastery in Rives Junction, Michigan. This Holy Image will greet all who enter SHH, and will serve as a visible reminder that one has entered a consecrated space set apart from “this world.”