2022 A Year in Review
St. Hermione Home (SHH) began in its earliest iteration in early 2017 with a visit to Shelter Health Services, a completely free medical clinic within the Center of Hope/Salvation Army, in the inner city of Charlotte, NC. During this visit, Fr. Paul Tsahakis, an Orthopedic Surgeon, was invited to initiate an Orthopedic Clinic there. During the early years of providing medical services, it became clear that the served population was also hungry for further spiritual nourishment. Thus in 2019, a weekly Bible Study/Prayer Group was inaugurated there with the assistance of Ms. Christina Hanegraaff.
During the ravages of the COVID pandemic in late 2020, many of the socially economically disadvantaged population in our area lost their homes and were left to live on the streets and in tents. Fr. Paul and Christina, and aided by many others, having been inspired by previously contemplating the life of the early (100 AD) Holy Unmercenary Saint, St. Hermione, brought needed resources to these suffering people including food, clothing and spiritual support. These efforts continue to the present day.
Additionally, in response to a direct question posed to Fr. Paul several years ago regarding alternatives to pregnancy termination in economically disadvantaged women who otherwise would have chosen to carry their children to full term, the concept of a maternity home offering a full spectrum of services was born.
Eventually, all these efforts were combined under the heading of the “St. Hermione Home” (SHH), a 501c3 tax exempt entity. St. Hermione Home is led by a diverse Board of Directors who are committed to both the material and spiritual expressions of the Holy Gospel of St. Matthew as presented in the 25th Chapter. St. Hermione Home is based on the healing of the “whole person,” as exemplified in the life of St. Hermione. These methods extend to all the SHH expressions including the Health and Wellness Program, the Bible Study/Prayer Groups, street ministry, and the eventual maternity home.
The actual “St. Hermione Home” will provide a safe and supportive home for homeless women to give birth and spiritually develop and nurture the mother and child bond. Access to food, clothing, medical services, and training to learn parenting, personal, and professional skills, thereby enabling self-sufficiency, leaving homelessness, and living a quality life as a family will be offered. Additionally, a two-year community college education will be offered to each resident.
2022 has been an active and exciting year for SHH. During 2021, SHH began the arduous process of National Accreditation. By the grace of God, SHH received National Accreditation as a Coaching and Support Education Service on Holy Wednesday, April 20, 2022, for its current iteration.
Of note, the State of North Carolina requires a three-year waiting period after National Accreditation before they will issue a maternity license. Consequently, actual construction on the home will begin in the Spring of 2023. Fully approved construction plans are already available.
Additionally, during 2022, the Board of Directors of SHH contemplated more fully the concept of “whole person healing.” As a consequence, they decided to include a fully functioning Greek Orthodox Chapel which will be attached to the Home itself. The addition of this Chapel was recently blessed by His Eminence, Metropolitan Alexios, to become a “metochian” (dependency) of the Holy Monastery of Panagia Prousiotissa in nearby Troy, NC. All of the Holy Services of the Eastern Orthodox Church will be offered here.
Furthermore, the Board of Directors recently inaugurated a Capital Campaign to build the Chapel and Home, and is called “The Least of These.” The construction has been estimated to cost up to $1.5 million dollars. During the “silent phase” of this campaign over the last few years, $800,000 has already been raised.
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 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.
To close out the news for SHH, the Salvation Army of the Greater Charlotte Area named St. Hermione Home the recipient of its Ministry of the Year Award for 2022.
+Fr. Paul Tsahakis President SHH 12/20/2022