New York, NY His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in America, today announced that, following his visit to the World Trade Center disaster site and in response to the national crisis, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America has established the September 11 Relief Fund and National Orthodox September 11 Relief Centers in cooperation with all other Orthodox Churches in the United States. Archbishop Demetrios, who also serves as Chairman of the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA), has appealed to all Orthodox jurisdictions in the United States to participate.
Further, His Eminence has appealed to all Greek Orthodox Churches in the United States to dedicate monies from a special collection on Sunday, September 16 to the newly established September 11 Relief Fund. This fund will support the first Relief Center which opened today, the Feast of the Elevation of the Precious Cross. The first center will be located at St. Barbara Greek Orthodox Church at 27 Forsyth St in Lower Manhattan, in close proximity to the site of the disaster.
His Eminence immediately established 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.
The National Orthodox September 11 Relief Centers themselves are Orthodox churches providing the assistance of priests and other professional volunteers for crisis, family and bereavement counseling for individuals affected by the national crisis. Relief Guidelines will also be provided for on-site training for priests and others engaged in counseling at the centers.
Finally, His Eminence announced the National Orthodox September 11 Relief Candles Program in which Orthodox churches will be asked to request parishioners to light candles on October 21, the 40-day memorial of the September 11 national tragedy, and dedicate the proceeds to the Relief Fund.
The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese will immediately mobilize the first volunteers from the Archons of the Ecumenical Patrtiarchate, the Ladies Philoptochos Society, the Young Adult League and Greek Orthodox Youth Association, and members of the Archdiocese and Leadership 100 staffs and designate three churches in New York City, one in Jersey City and two in Washington, D.C. as the first National Orthodox September 11 Relief Centers. They are in New York City - St. Barbara Church at 27 Forsyth St.; St. John the Baptist Church at 143 East 17th St.; St. Eleftherios Church at 359 West 24th St.; in Washington, D.C.- St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral, 36th St. and Massachusetts Ave. and Sts. Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church at 4115 16th St., NW and New Jersey churches to be designated.
Other Orthodox jurisdictions participating and providing September 11 Relief Centers are the Orthodox Church in America, which will designate the Cathedral of the Holy Virgin Protection at 59 East 2nd St. in New York City; the Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese, which will designate St. Nicholas Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Church at 288 East 10th St. in New York City; the Serbian Orthodox Church, which will designate St. Sava Cathedral at 15 West 25th St. in New York City; and the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church which will designate St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral at 355 State St., Brooklyn.