The History of the Hogar

Mother Juliana and a Chilean novice.
San Juan de Kronstadt Hogar (orphanage/ boarding school) was founded on October 14, 1967 by Mother Juliana. Then 32, M. Juliana along with 6 other nuns came to Chile from Jerusalem at the request of Bishop Leonty of Chile and Peru. On arrival, they lived together on Patronato Street in Santiago. At first the nuns made a living by their handy-work and M. Juliana gave private Russian lessons to wealthy families in Santiago. However, it was always a dream of M. Juliana to establish a home for unfortunate children. With the blessing of Bishop Leonty she began this task and together with the police went out in search of children who needed a home. M. Juliana still remembers the names of the first two girls - Maria and Elizaveta.

 
Mother Joanna and Mother Ksenia. Both now deceased. Mother Juliana and Mother Martha (now deceased).

As more children began to arrive the need for a bigger place arose. A new property was purchased in Arrayan, a suburb of Santiago. This property is approximately 2,000 acres, with beautiful views of the surrounding mountains and rather secluded due to its distance from the city. Of course times have changed and now it is more populated but still a feeling of seclusion exists. Construction began and soon the girls moved to their new home. In 1968, M. Juliana made her first trip to the US hoping to gather money for the orphanage. This trip was successful and enough money was raised that in 1969 a school was built on the property. Along with financial assistance from donations, the 'Servicio Nacional de Menores' also provided financial aid for the Hogar. M. Juliana was the director of the school and also taught the Russian language and religion classes. It was always a goal to raise the children in the Chilean and Russian cultures. The children were taught the Russian language, Russian dances and so forth. Also M. Juliana tried to expose them to the Orthodox Church. As a result many girls were baptized into the Orthodox Church and to this day attend services. One of the girls became a nun - sister Justinia.

Some of the past girls of the Hogar.

In 1978 M. Juliana became an Abbess. She remained in Chile and continued to operate the Orphanage. Alicia Mendoza, the wife of the Chief of Police, once commented that San Juan de Kronstadt Hogar was the best in Chile in part because it combined both the Russian and Chilean cultures. Hogar continued to flourish and at its height in 1983 there were a total of 55 girls, 12 novices and 7 nuns. In 1993 Abb. Juliana was sent to the Ascension Convent in Jerusalem by the Holy Synod and therefore had to transfer directorship of the school. The girls who live in the Hogar still attend this school and it is known to the locals as Colegio Russo, (Russian School). While in Jerusalem Abb. Juliana continued to run the Hogar and would periodically come back and attend to business.

The old Hogar after it had been burnt. Due to a lack of funds it has not been restored even to this day.
The old Hogar today (to date, not restored).
August of 1999 the Hogar suffered a tremendous blow when the main building where the girls lived and ate was burned to the ground. The buildings that survived were the performance hall, a second much smaller kitchen and one house belonging to the monastery. The girls were moved to the performance hall and this became their new home, where they live to the present day. This building is not very big in size and about 13 girls moved in. One can imagine how tight the quarters were for the girls.  In 2000, this building was also burned down. Later police and fire department investigations showed that this was arson. While the building was rebuilt the girls slept in the cafeteria. This was also the year that Abb. Juliana traveled to the US for the last time. This trip was not successful and she was not able to raise the money she hoped for. Due to this fact she does not travel anymore looking for financial aid.


The old Hogar before it was burnt down (in 1999). Performance Hall - Indoors

Currently there are 6 girls in the Hogar and 2 nuns, including Abb. Juliana. Times are very difficult, financially as well as spiritually and assistance is very much needed. A very small contribution is given by the Ministry of Justice for the upkeep of the Hogar. Other monastery aid comes from the selling of baked goods that Abb. Juliana bakes herself, eggs from chickens and milk from the two cows owned by the Foundation. Donations also make-up a part of the assistance but this too is very minimal. There are currently two cows, 21 chickens and several pigs belonging to the foundation. Aid is also given in the form of free left-over vegetables and bread generously donated by local supermarkets. This food is used to feed the children, nuns and animals. Everyday Abb. Juliana takes her little van and goes to collect the food that is donated. There are also many stray dogs and cats that live in the Hogar.

One of the girls (2008).

Any help would very much be appreciated in these times. Abb. Juliana continues to want to raise these unfortunate children but with the current problems she cannot take-in many girls. In addition, Abb. Juliana invites any women interested in seeking the monastic life to contact her and come to the convent.

Wood piles used to make fires to heat the various buildings of the foundation.