2005 News Archives

Archbishop Demetrios of America Travels to LA

New York, NY - His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, spiritual leader of 1.5 million Greek Orthodox Christians in America and Chairman of the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA), representing over 6 million Orthodox Christians, visited Baton Rouge, LA today to personally convey the love and concern of the Orthodox Christian community to those impacted by Hurricane Katrina. Baton Rouge has become the center of action for relief work and the temporary home of many of the evacuees of New Orleans including a considerable amount of the members of the Greek Orthodox faith who have relocated from New Orleans after the devastation.

Archbishop Demetrios was accompanied by Metropolitan Alexios of Atlanta, whose Metropolis includes Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, Bishop Andonios, Greek Orthodox Archdiocese Director of Philanthropy, and Georgia Skeadas, National President of the Greek Orthodox Ladies Philoptochos Society, the philanthropic arm of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese. They were met in Baton Rouge by Constantine Triantafilou, Executive Director of International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC). After being briefed in detail about the condition of the relief efforts and the contribution of IOCC to these efforts, they went to Second Harvest Warehouse, a major collection and distribution relief center in which IOCC is participating.

During the visit to Second Harvest Warehouse, Archbishop Demetrios, Metropolitan Alexios, Bishop Andonios and Mrs. Skeadas met with volunteer workers who have helped sort and disseminate materials to the victims of the Hurricane. Most of these workers are victims of the Hurricane who have also lost their homes and were extremely grateful to have His Eminence visit the Warehouse. At the conclusion of this special visit Archbishop Demetrios led the group in prayer and offered icons to the relief workers.

The emotional visit continued with a Prayer and Memorial Service at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Chapel in Baton Rouge, serviced by Father Anthony Stratis, who is also pastor of Holy Trinity Cathedral in New Orleans, and Orthodox faithful including the parish council presidents of Holy Trinity Cathedral in New Orleans and Holy Trinity Chapel in Baton Rouge. Archbishop Demetrios was presented with the Artophorion, a Holy Chalice, the Paten and the Holy Gospel which were retrieved the previous day from the Cathedral in New Orleans.

At the conclusion of the service, Archbishop Demetrios presented Mr. Triantafilou of IOCC with a $100,000 donation from the Archbishop Iakovos Leadership 100 Fund and $100,000 from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America Hurricane Katrina Disaster Relief Fund, which represents a portion of the funds currently being collected from the Greek Orthodox faithful of America in response to a special tray passing appeal. Relief funds still being collected will be distributed to communities and individuals in the affected areas through Metropolitan Alexios of Atlanta.

Mrs. Skeadas also presented a donation of $50,000 from the National Philoptochos to assist in the IOCC's humanitarian efforts towards the victims of this natural disaster.

The trip concluded with a visit to Catholic Charities where the group met with Roman Catholic Archbishop of New Orleans Alfred E. Hughes, Bishop Meunch of Baton Rouge, National Catholic Charities Chairman Father Larry Snyder, Bishop Jenkins of the Episcopalian Diocese of New Orleans and staff who are working in cooperation with IOCC. Archbishop Hughes was extremely thankful for the opportunity for the Catholic Church to work with the Orthodox Church and expressed his desire to continue this productive combination of working together in such catastrophic events which need the maximum possible cooperation and effectiveness.

At the conclusion of this emotional visit, Mr. Triantafilou stated, "Watching His Eminence interact with the victims of this tremendous tragedy was inspiring. His gift of love is immeasurable."


Founded in 1992 IOCC is the official humanitarian aid agency of SCOBA. A pan-Orthodox agency, IOCC works in cooperation with the Orthodox Church worldwide. Its relief and development programs bring urgent and sustainable assistance to people suffering from war, poverty disease and natural disasters. IOCC implements its humanitarian programs solely on the basis of need, in partnership with local organizations, and in consultation with local government, civic and Church Leaders.

Nikki Stephanopoulos
Marissa Costidis

Orthodox Observer Online