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Happy 75th Birthday ARAA - March 11, 1946
On this day 75 years ago Prince Sergei Belosselsky-Belozersky incorporated the non-profit “Russian-American Union for Protection and Aid to Russian Outside of Russia, Inc.” in the state of New York; in 1956 the name was changed to “American-Russian Aid Association, Inc.” (ARAA)
It's impossible to list the many good deeds done through ARAA to help the far flung Russian diaspora which was struggling to find new lives in the aftermath of World War II. Under Prince Belosselsky’s oversight the organization: fought against repatriation and helped pass the Displaced Persons (DP) Act; helped countless DPs gain entry to the United States and elsewhere in the world; helped establish ‘Russian Homes for the Aged’ - including 6 in Glen Cove, NY. The organization also purchased and set up a Russian Cultural Center in a mansion on West 86th Street, New York City. This center - known as the “House of Free Russia” - housed a number of Russian emigre organizations, provided employment and legal services, hosted meetings, lectures, conferences, evening and teas arranged by various Russian Organizations.
Prince Belosselsky and his wife Svetlana (née Florence Crane) personally funded much of ARAA’s activities but their generosity extended far beyond by providing financial aid to many emigres and the Russian Church Abroad. Thanks to their generosity, Vladimirovo (near Chicago); the Hermitage of Our Lady of Kursk (near Mahopac); St Sergius High School (in NYC); ROVA Farms (Cassville, NJ) - to name a few - were established and became places of worship, cultural centers, and DP havens.
Today, as we celebrate the anniversary of the American Russian Aid Association, we pause to remember Prince Sergei Belosselsky-Belozersky, his wife and partner Svetlana, and the initial subscribers/directors who placed us on this path 75 years ago: Archbishop Vitaly (Maximenko), Peter Abramov, Nicholas Martinovitch, Serge Leposky, Nicholas Fallenberg, Alexander Shtaken, Nicholas Rybakoff, John Anisimoff, Evsey Butzkevich, Nicholas Globicheff, Maxim Karpenis, Evstaphey Kukush, Michael Shomin, and Alexander Shtaken. May their memories be eternal!
We are honored to continue their work by providing aid to the needs of the Russian people, people of Russian ancestry, and people of the Orthodox faith through our ARAA/Otrada Prince Sergei Belosselsky-Belozersky Charitable Fund. In their memory, and consistent with their vision, we continue to help establish and grow the Orthodox Faith, feed the hungry, provide disaster aid, and preserve our rich culture.