In the year 1857, Don Rafael Ayau built the first orphanage in
Guatemala City, known as "The Home of Mercy".
Don Rafael Ayau
BECAUSE of broken homes, crime, war, unemployment, poverty, domestic violence, prostitution, alcohol and drug abuse,
hundreds of poor children could not be well taken care of by
their parents. Many lived in the streets to survive.
FOR the sake of these homeless children,
one man's dream became a reality!
BUT during the early 1970s, the Guatemalan government
expropriated the orphanage and named it
"HOGAR RAFAEL AYAU",
in honor of its founder.
In the year 1996, under the administration of President Álvaro Arzú
and the First Lady Patricia Arzú, HOGAR RAFAEL AYAU
was given back to private stewardship, to the Orthodox Church,
and a new chapter in it's history was written.
His Eminence, Metropolitan Antonio Chedraoui Archbishop of the Antiochian Orthodox Church of Mexico, Central America, Venezuela and the Caribbean, officially received the neglected orphanage from the Guatemalan authorities.
On August 9th of 1996, the feast day of St. Herman of Alaska,
his Eminence, Metropolitan Antonios entrusted to Mother Abbess Inés and the Nuns of the Orthodox Monastery Lavra Mambré the administration and financial responsibilities of the Hogar.
After more than one year of general repairs and renovations
of the eight dilapidated buildings of the Hogar, and spending
half a million US dollars, from private donors only,
the Hogar reopened its doors once again to welcome 115 children
all together on October 13th of 1997!!!