Articles on Orthodox Christian Charity


IOCC Offers Volunteer Opportunity to Help Rebuild Homes on Gulf Coast

IOCC volunteer Michael Kostaras, 17 (center), joined his father Jim and 12 other Orthodox Christians to help build new homes for families in St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana. (photo: IOCC Baltimore)IOCC volunteer Michael Kostaras, 17 (center), joined his father Jim and 12 other Orthodox Christians to help build new homes for families in St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana. (photo: IOCC Baltimore)April 30, 2010

Baltimore, Md. (IOCC) — International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) will once again be calling on Orthodox volunteers from throughout the United States to build homes for families whose lives were devastated by Gulf Coast hurricanes.

The program will give teams the opportunity to serve one-week stints in St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana, an area that suffered the loss of more than 48,000 housing units in Hurricane Katrina according to estimates by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Opportunities to serve begin on May 2 and end on August 1.

"I came down with my 17-year-old son," said IOCC volunteer Jim Kostaras, an architect from Boston who served on a team in Louisiana during the summer of 2009. "It was a great opportunity for us to come to New Orleans and to meet great people from Orthodox communities from across the U.S. and to put our faith to work in a meaningful way," he continued.

Volunteers don't have to be skilled – just energetic. Activities include siding, roofing, framing, landscaping and support. Over 550 Orthodox volunteers have helped build 200 homes with IOCC since the program's inception in 2006. "We are at the vanguard of a national effort to engage Orthodox volunteers in a variety of opportunities right here in the U.S.," says Pascalis Papouras, IOCC's US Program Coordinator.

Volunteer Opportunity at the Orthodox Christian Mission Center

From the OCMC web site:

4/20/2010

The Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC), located in St. Augustine, FL, is seeking 8 volunteers to join their Thank You Calling Team. Individuals on this team will make calls each month to OCMC donors thanking them for their gifts on behalf of OCMC. Solicitation is not a part of this program. Training and orientation will be provided, and calls can be made from the OCMC offices or from home if the volunteer has unlimited calling. The time commitment is 3-4 hours per month and volunteers don't have to reside in north Florida. Calling lists will be provided via email. To find out more information, or to volunteer to become a part of this team, contact Kenneth Kidd, OCMC Annual Gifts Officer, at 904-829-5132, Ext. 161 or at kenny@ocmc.org.

Antiochian Orthodox Faithful Assist Haitian Earthquake Relief with Donation to IOCC

On Wednesday April 14, 2010, His Eminence, Metropolitan PHILIP, on behalf of the faithful of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, presented a check for $150,000 to International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) Executive Director and CEO Constantine M. Triantafilou, in the presence of His Grace Bishop ANTOUN, Order of St Ignatius of Antioch chair Dan Abraham, and IOCC board members the Very Rev. Michael Ellias and Anne Glynn Mackoul at Antiochian Archdiocese headquarters in Englewood, N.J. The gift was a result of the generous response of the Antiochian Orthodox faithful to the appeal that was made by His Eminence immediately after the earthquake struck Haiti.

Benefit Dinner for Special Needs Children in Lebanon

On May 22, 2010, the Antiochian Archdiocese will hold a Gala Dinner to benefit children with special needs at The Al-Kafaàt Foundation at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City (Park Avenue on Grand Central Station). Proceeds from the dinner will be used to complete construction of a new compound at Al-Kafaàt, in The Village Center of the Foundation. This new compound will host population of 250 children with mental challenges. Excavations have already started in Beirut and the project is expected to be completed by the end of 2011.

IOCC Joins in Launch of ACT Alliance

Homeless families in the Belair neighborhood of Port-au-Prince who survived Haiti's devastating January 12 earthquake enjoy safe water provided through a water system installed by Norwegian Church Aid with the support of IOCC.Homeless families in the Belair neighborhood of Port-au-Prince who survived Haiti's devastating January 12 earthquake enjoy safe water provided through a water system installed by Norwegian Church Aid with the support of IOCC.March 24, 2010

Baltimore, Md. (IOCC) — International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) has joined the ACT Alliance, one of the world's largest humanitarian bodies, which officially launches March 24.

With more than 100 members globally, the ACT Alliance works in 125 countries with a combined operating budget of approximately $1.5 billion. The new alliance of churches and church-based humanitarian groups combines and builds on the former ACT International and its longtime disaster relief and rehabilitation focus, and the former ACT Development and its sustainable development focus. In addition, the ACT Alliance will also be involved in advocacy work.

Metropolitan PHILIP Appeal for Chile Earthquake Relief

Courtesy Mariana Bazo / ReutersCourtesy Mariana Bazo / ReutersMarch 1, 2010

TO BE READ FROM THE PULPIT

“Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.”  (Acts 2:44-45)

Once again we are confronted with the images of destruction, death and human tragedy in the wake of the severe earthquake that struck Chile on Saturday, February 27th, 2010.  More than 700 are confirmed to have died, with the toll expected to be higher.  More than 1.5 million people are homeless or without shelter.  I have been in touch with my brother, Metropolitan SERGIOS (Abd), the Primate of the Antiochian Archdiocese of Chile.  His Eminence is personally safe and sound, but several of his churches have suffered damage from the earthquake, and the status of some of the faithful is still to be determined.  As the quote above from the Book of Acts reminds us, it has always been the tradition of the Church to help any brothers and sisters in Christ who are in need.  As such, we are asking all of our parishes and missions to appeal for prayers and donations in order to assist those who are in need in Chile.

FOCUS North America's Youth Equipped to Serve (YES) Program Hosts Los Angeles Weekend

By Charles Ajalat

I’ve just come home from the FOCUS North America YES trip to the Fred Jordan Mission on skid row in Los Angeles and am still so excited I want to capture part of what happened, for the benefit of Orthodox Christians.

 Our group of 23, included Katrina, five older “counselors” or leaders, the young adults (7th graders through high school students), and myself. We started Friday, February 4 at noon with a two hour briefing and training session at a local Orthodox Church by our truly spiritual, truly uplifting and inspiring YES! Director, Katrina Bitar. What rapport she has with the teens and counselors, what humility, what love for the poor, what a model for our young people. God willing, she is in the process of replicating herself .

We are not only more than doubling the YES program this year but, God willing, will multiple it many times over in the near future. Preparation had been made by the staff the day and week before the YES weekend. The trip was well-planned.

FOCUS Launches Tackle Poverty Campaign with Polamalu Family

Prior to Super Bowl Sunday, and in anticipation of Great Lent, FOCUS North America has announced that they have joined hands with Troy and Theodora Polamalu to tackle poverty in America. "By joining with us," they urge, "you will help those in need-the poor, the sick and the suffering. Join us also in prayer this Lent for those who have no one to turn to and no one to pray for them." Troy Polamalu holds two Super Bowl rings as a Pittsburgh Steeler, and his wife Theodora is a board member for FOCUS. They are also parents of a young son, Paisios.

In an interview on OCN, the Polamalus discuss the importance of FOCUS' ministry, why they are choosing to become involved in fighting poverty in America, and how the Orthodox Christian approach to charitable outreach differs from other philanthropic groups. 

U.S. Faithful Reach out to Haitian Orthodox Communities

Both the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia and the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Mexico, have parishes in Haiti, and all have been impacted in varying degrees, by the devastating earthquake of January 12. V.Rev. Victor Potapov, the Executive Director for the Fund for Assistance of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, reports that the Assistance Fund has collected over $50,000 and disbursed $16,000 of aid to the suffering people of Haiti through trusted clergymen on the ground there. "This is an ongoing fundraising effort," he explains. "We are working towards opening a clinic on the grounds of one of our five parishes in Haiti.  Please pray for Fr. Gregoire, Fr. Jean, their long-suffering parishioners and for the members of our delegation, who are doing a magnificent job in Haiti, negotiated with the United Nations, the Red Cross, IOCC and other organizations to get aid to our people." 

Deacon Matthew Williams of ROCOR, recently returned from a trip to Haiti, where he summarized in an online report the desperate condition of parishioners there.

An Appeal for Haiti from Metropolitan PHILIP

January 13, 2010

TO BE READ FROM THE PULPIT

"You who are strong, help the weak. You who are rich, help the poor. You who stand upright, help the fallen and the crushed. You who are joyful, comfort those in sadness. You who enjoy all good fortune, help those who have met with disaster. Give something in thanksgiving to God that you are of those who can give help, and not of those who stand and wait for it." (St. Gregory of Nazianzus)

Beloved in Christ:

We are all aware of the disastrous earthquake which struck the country of Haiti on Tuesday that destroyed many homes and reduced much of their land to rubble and took many innocent lives. Thousands of homes were destroyed and thousands of people are still missing amid the heaps of ruins. Even the center of the city of Port au Prince, was heavily damaged, including the capital that was completely destroyed. With faith in God, these victims of this disaster are trying to restore some order to their shattered lives.