March 15, 2011
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,
Our hearts are filled with sadness and compassion as we have seen the apocalyptic images of mass destruction and suffering following the earthquake and tsunami which struck Japan last Friday. In response to this historic tragedy, we may be rendered speechless, seeing the extent of the devastation and the plight of so many. However, our faith in our gracious God leads us to respond to human need both in prayer and in action to sustain life and offer solace in a time of great loss.
For the people of Japan, I ask first and foremost that the faithful of the Greek Orthodox Church in America offer their fervent prayers. May we join with so many throughout our world in asking God to grant them comfort in this hour of pain. May we pray for renewed strength and hope, so that livelihoods may be restored and families and friends be re-united. We also pray for the containment of the tremendous damage caused by the malfunction of the nuclear plants in the area. Mostly, we pray for the eternal repose of the countless lost in this disaster.
The restoration of life and community will require the effort of our global community. I encourage you to join IOCC (International Orthodox Christian Charities, www.iocc.org) or other local and national efforts, such as the Red Cross, as so many of you do in response to needs around the world. Please select the agency of your choice to contribute for the relief of this disaster. In love, you give generously, and through this offering we can offer a witness of the love of Christ as Orthodox Christians.
With paternal love in Christ,
Archbishop of America