November 15, 2013
Jesus Christ went about doing good and healing. (Acts 10:38)
To the Most Reverend Hierarchs, the Reverend Priests and Deacons, the Monks and Nuns, the Presidents and Members of the Parish Councils of the Greek Orthodox Communities, the Distinguished Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Day, Afternoon, and Church Schools, the Philoptochos Sisterhoods, the Youth, the Hellenic Organizations, and the entire Greek Orthodox Family in America
Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
On behalf of the Holy Eparchial Synod of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, I greet you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, bringing to your attention the dreadful devastation produced by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines on November 8th and asking for your prayers and assistance at these difficult times for millions of people.
As one of the most powerful ever recorded, this tropical storm has left thousands of people dead and millions of others without shelter or access to basic necessities. After such great initial loss and destruction, the devastation continues as homelessness, hunger, thirst, and disease settle in the affected areas of the Philippines. Without a substantial response from communities world-wide, many more people could be affected and lose their lives.
We fervently ask you, beloved people of our Holy Archdiocese, to become part of the relief response and help the people of the Philippines and the devastated areas through the efforts of our Church. Responding generously, and together as a community of faith, we will be able to support immediate and long-term relief efforts of the Orthodox Church and partner relief organizations that are already on-the-ground.
To support these efforts, we are designating the Sundays of November 17th and 24th as days of prayer and offering to help the people of the Philippines. We ask all the parishes of our Archdiocese to allocate special collections for the ‘Philippines Relief Fund’ and to forward the funds collected to the Archdiocese, as we will be coordinating our disaster response at the national level. It is requested that the offerings be made out to the ‘Greek Orthodox Archdiocese’ and earmarked for the ‘Philippines Relief Fund.’ Our website, www.goarch.org, will also provide an online giving alternative and periodic updates on our relief response.
We ask our Lord to bless our efforts and the efforts of the many responders who work tirelessly to offer relief to those affected. We also pray that He who is the Creator of life gives rest to the souls of those who perished and brings comfort and help to those who remain and are in great need.
At this time when we are approaching the Holy Nativity Feast and are preparing to celebrate and rejoice as He, the Word, comes to be born in this world, let us remember, pray and offer our generous assistance to the people who are in urgent need of our help. Let us therefore imitate Him who spent His earthly life “doing good and healing” (Acts 10:38).
With paternal love in Christ,
Archbishop of America