Appeal for Earthquake Victims in Turkey
Aug 27, 1999
My Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Grace to you and peace in the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. I write this letter as an appeal from my heart for your support to help alleviate the pain and suffering of the victims of the catastrophic earthquake in Turkey. This human tragedy was one of the worst natural disasters in history, according to scientists and seismologists. As of the time of the writing of this letter, the earthquake is known to have claimed more than 12,000 lives, and this fearful death toll is increasing daily. Of the survivors, more than 32,000 are injured, while another 200,000 remain homeless and are forced to live in unspeakable conditions of squalor and deprivation.
As Greek Orthodox Christians we cannot remain silent at this hour. We have a responsibility to show these victims our deepest heartfelt love and compassion. Philanthropy is at the very heart of the Gospel, for every human being is created in the image and likeness of God, and thus our love for God compels us also to love our fellow human beings. I have seen pictures of the earthquake victims extending their hands in supplication, begging for help. How can we refuse? How can we fail to respond in love in the face of this human tragedy?
I appeal to your hearts to give generously to the special tray that we ask to be passed on Sunday, August 29. The money from this special collection should be forwarded to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese Turkish Victims Fund. In turn, these funds will be sent to our spiritual father, His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, for distribution to the victims of the earthquake. May the Lord our merciful God bless you and keep you for the sake of the mercy that you show to your fellow man. On behalf of His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, I remain,
With paternal love in Christ,
Bishop of New Jersey and
Archiepiscopal Vicar of America