Articles on Orthodox Christian Charity

Single Working Moms Survive Hurricane, Realize Dream of Homeownership

IOCC Dateline: New Orleans, Louisiana

Covington, Louisiana - At 43, tan, and muscular, Michelle bounds up a ladder and uses her shoulder to hoist a "truss," a large wooden structure that will secure the roof of a new home. When she ducks as the team below her slides the truss into place, Michelle, a New Orleans native, reminds you of a pioneer woman. In fact, she is one. For the first time in her life, she will own a home, something that this landscape gardener and single mother never thought was possible.

Michelle is working on a Habitat for Humanity home, putting in the 300 hours of sweat equity required towards the acquisition of her own house. Her American dream is about to come true thanks in part to the hundreds of IOCC volunteers who have toiled in the Louisiana sun since 2006 to build new Habitat homes for the survivors of Hurricane Katrina. "The idea of owning my own home for personal security, for personal investment, for my two growing sons - plus one that is affordable and that can withstand a Category 5 hurricane is something I never thought possible," says Michelle.

Charity Theme of 2009 Convention

This verse has been chosen as the theme for the 2009 Convention hosted July 19 to 26, 2009, in Palm Desert, CA, by St. Michael Church of Van Nuys:

"Be mindful, O Lord, of those who bear fruit and do good works in thy Holy Churches, and who remember the poor." + The Anaphoras of Sts. Basil the Great and John Chrysostom

In support of this theme, International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) will be exhibiting at the Convention, with multiple special presentations planned.

Also present will be FOCUS North America. Working primarily in the areas of Food, Occupation, Clothing, Understanding and Shelter, FOCUS North America (the Fellowship of Orthodox Christians United to Serve) exists to share the love of Christ with our neighbors who are hungry, thirsty, naked, sick, strangers and in prison here in North America (Matt. 25:34-6).  FOCUS North America is a domestic social action agency of the Orthodox Church "warmly endorsed" by the hierarchs of SCOBA.  It was formed to serve the poor and needy on behalf of the Church in North America, to support existing Orthodox ministries doing so effectively, and to help welcoming parishes initiate new social action ministries in their own communities.

Here at, we will be bringing together notable news about charitable work done across our Archdiocese and the ministries like IOCC which we help support. Visit our collection of articles on charitable work here.

Orthodox Christian Network Announces Podcast Partnership with FOCUS North America

The theme of the upcoming 2009 Archdiocese Convention is charity: "Be mindful, O Lord, of those who bear fruit and do good works in thy holy Churches, and who remember the poor." In that spirit, will begin publishing additional content on the charitable work being done across the Antiochian Archdiocese and the ministries we support, including those of SCOBA (Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas), like OCN.

The Orthodox Christian Network is excited to announce another addition to its already dynamic and ever evolving list of Radio on Demand Programming (Podcast), The FOCUS North America Podcast.

The Focus North America Podcast will feature engaging commentary and timely updates on Orthodox Christian social action volunteers, agencies and ministries of the Orthodox Church reaching out to the poor and needy here at home.

Rev. Dr. Christopher Metropulos, the Executive Director of the OCN, an agency of SCOBA, said, “Serving the poor and needy in North America should be a priority for every Orthodox Christian. We are proud to partner with FOCUS North America and to support their dynamic and growing ministry on behalf of the whole Church.”

IOCC: Combating the ‘Silent Killers’ Among Syria’s Iraqi Refugees


An Iraqi refugee assists her community in Syria to overcome the rising rates of diabetes and high blood pressure with information and testing. IOCC’s community outreach program trains and equips Iraqis to help fellow refugees with a range of social services. (photo credit: A. Rondos/IOCC Lebanon)


Aleppo, Syria - On a rainy evening in this ancient city famed for its pistachios and historic mosques and churches, 120 Iraqi refugees gather in a church’s basement to learn about the “silent killers” of their community – diabetes and high blood pressure. The prevalence of both diseases is rising among the estimated one million Iraqis who have fled to Syria from Iraq since 2003.

Dr. Rana, an Iraqi refugee who came to Syria in 2008 after completing her medical degree at Baghdad University, has organized the gathering. She pulls out test kits and begins to teach each patient how to measure their blood pressure and their glucose level. Dr. Rana explains that diabetes and high blood pressure are prevalent in refugee communities where unemployment is high and people lack access to regular health care. “Many Iraqis do not go to the doctor because they spend time worrying about their families and so do not have the very important regular tests for these illnesses,” she says.

IOCC: Gaza’s Orthodox Community Struggles to Endure


International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) is providing food, blankets and hygiene supplies to 6,000 vulnerable families in Gaza. IOCC is working in cooperation with the Orthodox Church in Gaza where needy families are receiving repairs to their homes which were damaged by the recent war. (photo credit: D. Lackovic-van Gorp/IOCC Jerusalem/West Bank)


International Orthodox Christian Charities’ (IOCC) Jerusalem/West Bank Representative Dirk Lackovic-van Gorp travels to Gaza regularly overseeing IOCC’s distributions of food, blankets and hygiene supplies to 6,000 vulnerable families throughout Gaza. Here is a portion of his field diary. For Dirk‘s complete Gaza diary go to

As we approach the Erez crossing on the Israeli side of the border with the Palestinian territory of Gaza, it suddenly occurs to me that I have already grown familiar with the routine. I need to pause and remind myself of the daily reality for the 1.5 million Palestinians on the other side of this crossing – that they are effectively prisoners in a small strip of land along the scenic Mediterranean coast.

OCN Live Coverage of Dedication of the New Missionary Training and Administration Building

St. Augustine, FL – Several hundred Orthodox Christian faithful from throughout the country and as far away as Albania and Romania will be in St. Augustine this week for the dedication of the new Archbishop Anastasios and Archbishop Demetrios Missionary Training and Administrative Building of the Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC). This new facility will serve as the international missions headquarters for North America’s estimated 1.5 million Orthodox Christians. Events begin with an evening banquet Wednesday, May 20, and continue on Thursday with a Divine Liturgy service at 7:30 a.m. The actual Dedication ceremony will take place at 10 a.m. Thursday, May 21, to be followed by a luncheon.