Every Monday and Thursday approximately one hundred needy people come to the Orthodox Cathedral of Korça for a midday meal. Other families in desperate need wait in their homes for a weekly visit from one of the women volunteers. Some of the members visit the sick and despairing, trying to offer words of encouragement and hope. And the residents of the local Old Age Home and the children's orphanage know that they can expect a visit from this "group of love."
These are only some of the activities of the Orthodox Women's group of Korça, who call themselves "Dashuria" (Love), as a reminder of their ultimate responsibility - to radiate the love of Jesus Christ throughout the city.
The core group of these women came together long before communism fell in 1990. During the years of religious persecution, when any expression of faith was forbidden by state law, these women secretly encouraged one another to persevere in their faith. They occasionally invited a courageous priest to secretly come and celebrate the Divine Liturgy in one of their homes at two in the morning.
When one priest taught them the importance of keeping vigil in prayer, these women organized themselves to "pray without ceasing" during the forty-day fasting periods of the Church. The women secretly set up a program where a different person would pray in two hour shifts throughout the day and night without break. This continued for the entire period of the fast. In this they tried to fulfill the words of St. Paul (1 Thess. 5:17).
The group continues such fervent prayer during their weekly Friday night Paraclesis (Supplication) Service to the Virgin Mary, where they lift up the names of those in need. They also encourage the priests to hold frequent all night vigils in the church.