Baltimore, MD (IOCC) — A shipment of personal health kits, many of which were donated by Orthodox Christians from across the United States, have been shipped by International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) to Birmingham, Alabama for distribution to survivors of recent severe storms and tornadoes that devastated the area in late April. The kits, valued at more than $120,000, represent the first of several planned shipments of relief supplies that have been requested following an assessment by one of IOCC's Frontline responders working in Alabama.
The Greek Orthodox Ladies Philoptochos Society also announced its support today for the IOCC response to Alabama and flood areas along the Mississippi River and committed $20,000 from the Society's National Emergency Fund.
"Accommodations are being found for the many affected residents of the stricken areas," reported Deacon Dan Gray, a retired Naval Officer from Eagle River, Alaska and member of the IOCC Frontline who has been in Alabama since May 5. "There are now only about 150 people living in shelters – a good sign considering the scope and severity of this disaster."
Two recent IOCC press releases explain how the pan-Orthodox organization is reaching out to regions battered by storms and earthquakes, both in the United States and abroad.
April 29, 2011
Baltimore, MD (IOCC) — Following a historic series of storms in the southern United States that claimed the lives of more than 200 people, International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) has been in contact with Orthodox Christian communities and partner organizations in several U.S. States to assess the needs of survivors.
"While some areas of the United States have been unseasonably dry and experiencing widespread fires, there have been reports of more than 750 tornadoes already this year," says IOCC Executive Director Constantine Triantafilou. "We have been contacting Orthodox hierarchs and parishes, ecumenical partners, and local authorities in communities across the South and Midwest to assess the needs and offer our support."
May 4, 2011
Baltimore, MD (IOCC) — International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) announced its support for efforts by Christian churches in Japan to provide housing for as many as 1,000 families in the Japanese prefectures hardest hit by the tsunami – Miyagi, Fukushima and Iwate.
Working together with Church World Service and in support of the National Christian Council in Japan and the Japan Lutheran Emergency Relief, assistance is being provided to match families with offers of housing made by member churches. The housing service is being administered by the National Christian Council in Japan at its central office in Tokyo and local churches are assisting in matching families who are in need of housing in the affected prefectures.
St. Ignatius Mission in Boca Raton Celebrates First Anniversary and Metropolitan Philip's 80th Birthday
The Divine Liturgy celebrated every Sunday at 10am on a huge college campus… this is the Mission of St. Ignatius of Antioch in Boca Raton, Florida.
The Mission of St. Ignatius of Antioch is based on Florida Atlantic University (FAU) on Glades Road in Boca Raton, Florida. FAU is a University which boasts over 28,000 students. St. Ignatius Boca at FAU may be the first Antiochian Orthodox Christian ministry ever established to serve upon a college campus in the history of this great Archdiocese. This Orthodox mission maintains unlimited growth potential where the hope is “to bring America home to Orthodoxy!”
His Grace Bishop Antoun arrived in Orlando, Florida on Friday, January 7th, 2011, to Bless and visit the faithful of St. George Church. Upon arrival, His Grace asked Fr. John E. Hamatie, pastor of St. George’s, to please take him to visit Monk James of the Orthodox Community of Ss. Cosmas and Damian. The Community has a long-standing ministry of housing, helping and caring for homeless HIV-positive men in the Orlando area. Afterwards, His Grace and his dear sister Marie Shaleesh, who accompanied Sayidna for the week-end, drove to St. George’s to attend the weekly Church feeding of homeless people. His Grace was very much impressed with this ministry of St. George’s and with the feeding of over two hundred men, women and children that day.
The evening was chaired by Economos Antony Gabriel. Following are his remarks. There was also a slide presentation by Rt. Rev. John Abdalah and remarks by both Very Rev. Joe Shaheen and Very Rev. George Rados.
Metropolitan Philip and Metropolitan Ephraim
Hierarchs of the God-protected Archdiocese
Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
This evening I was tempted to recall all the humorous episodes in our life that we shared with you.
However, it is “serious” business to salute you on the occasion of your 50 consecrated years in God’s holy Priesthood. Few among this audience know of the Antoun we met in 1959 and the suffering you endured in your early years in North America, miles away from family and friends in a different culture and attending St. Vladimir’s Seminary in New York City with professors who at times were difficult to understand with their various accents, living with complete strangers who barely spoke English.
The Diocese of Miami, the Diocese of Wichita, and the Diocese of Worcester all launched the season for Parish Life Conferences over the long weekend of June 16-20. St. George of Jacksonville, Florida, hosted the southern conference with the keynote speaker The V. Rev. Fr. Paul Tarazi featured at the Saturday evening banquet. In the meantime, in Oklahoma City, the faithful of DOWAMA met for their "family reunion" at the Marriott; significantly, the Diocese host parish of St. Elijah was celebrating its 90th Anniversary as a community. In a young ladies' sweep, Nora Haddad won the junior division and Melissa LIkiardopoulos won the senior division in the Oratorical Festival. Back east, St. George Cathedral in Worcester hosted a busy schedule at the Sturbridge Host Hotel in the historic city of Sturbridge, Massachusetts, in honor of the two new mission parishes that had joined the Diocese in the previous year, Emmanuel Church of Warren, MA and St. Stephen Church of Springfield, MA. See the Archdiocese calendar for information on other parish life conferences coming this summer.
Recently, Bishop Basil spoke with AFR correspondent Matthew Namee about the historic assembly of bishops which took place in the week following Pentecost. His Grace was elected Secretary of the Assembly. Below are excerpts from the interview, which can be found here in full:
"The bishops delighted in being together and doing the work of the Church."
"The ultimate task was to prepare the Orthodox (Church) of this region...to constitute itself as a canonical, single Church.…It is a huge task, one that a vast majority of Orthodox Christians in America have been praying for, hoping for, talking about, for a long, long time."
"It’s as if the Mother Churches have said to us, ‘Look, you have been asking for this. Before we give it to you, we would like to know, what is your plan?’"
"We were blessed by the work of SCOBA….the work of the Episcopal Assembly was made quite easy by the 50 years of preparation."
"The Episcopal Assembly is comprised of every Orthodox bishop, not just the primates. We had 55 in attendance, (in New York) where the maximum of SCOBA members would have been 8."
Ancient Faith Radio has also posted an extensive interview with Fr. Mark Arey, General Secretary of SCOBA, titled Unraveling the Episcopal Assembly. Additionally, Antiochian.org has compiled a summary of online Assembly articles.
Remaining true to our roots as a mission church, Archangel Gabriel Orthodox Church continues to grow by the grace of God to meet the demands for Orthodoxy in Lafayette, Louisiana. It has only been a few years since the church welcomed her first full-time pastor in the persons of Father Philip and Khouria Kathryn Rogers. Under their leadership, we have extended our reach into the community, beautified our sanctuary, and increased our numbers. God has allowed us to establish a choir, a Sunday school program, and a local chapter of the Orthodox Christian Fellowship at the nearby university. While still looking ahead to the future, we paused on the last weekend in February, 2010 to remember all that God has already given us. We were honored and delighted to host a visit from our spiritual father Bishop ANTOUN, who would help us consecrate a new Holy Table.