New York, NY His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in America, today announced that the International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) would help coordinate the newly established National Orthodox Relief Centers organized by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese on Friday, Sept. 15th, to address the destruction of the World Trade Center.
The Coordination Hub for the Relief Centers at St. Barbara Greek Orthodox Church, near the disaster site, began operating immediately with the assistance of Dirk Van Gorp, Head of Program Development and Emergency Response for the IOCC. The Coordination Hub began scheduling and facilitating teams of clergy and lay counselors to minister to rescue workers at the disaster site, as well as counseling for families and other individuals at emergency centers and hospitals.
Archbishop Demetrios said that the IOCC is the appropriate choice for this role since it was established for such purposes internationally under the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops (SCOBA). His Eminence also serves as Chairman of SCOBA.
The work at the Relief Centers will involve volunteers from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, Greek Orthodox Churches and other Orthodox jurisdictions and churches. Phone lines have been established at the Archdiocese and at St. Barbaras and are receiving numerous calls. The National Orthodox September 11 Relief Hotline (877-774-0217), for individuals to inquire regarding missing persons, to request counseling and any other assistance and the National Orthodox September 11 Relief Volunteer Line (212-570-3595) to solicit volunteers for emergency, professional and for other types of assistance and to solicit donations and in-kind contributions to the September 11 Relief Fund were established simultaneously with the Relief Centers.
The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese has designated other churches in the New York City area as Relief Centers and is working with the Orthodox Church in America, the Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese, the Serbian Orthodox Church, and the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church to establish additional Relief Centers.