January 13, 2010
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,
It was with great sadness and compassion that we received the tragic news of the devastating earthquake that struck yesterday the country of Haiti, causing widespread destruction and loss of countless lives. Thousands are presumed dead, many more have lost family members, homes, and jobs, and the infrastructure and institutions of the capital city, Port-au-Prince, are in ruins.
In response to this tragedy, I ask first and foremost of the faithful of the Greek Orthodox Church in America to offer their fervent prayers for the people of Haiti. May we help them through our prayers to find heavenly solace in this hour of grief and pain, and may they find strength and hope in Him through faith and through the ministry of love and healing offered from around the world. In addition, may we also offer our prayers for the Greek Orthodox faithful and the two parishes of Haiti who are under the archpastoral leadership of His Eminence Metropolitan Athenagoras of Mexico. We pray for their safety and well-being, and for their witness and service during this difficult time.
I also ask that the parishes of our Holy Archdiocese conduct a special collection on Sunday, January 17 as a response of compassion to the needs of the people of Haiti. This country and its people have experienced numerous tragedies and struggles, and this natural disaster has deepened the challenges with the destruction of hospitals, schools, churches, and relief centers. It is requested that the offerings be sent to the Archdiocese made out to the “Greek Orthodox Archdiocese” earmarked for the Haiti Relief Fund.
Through prayers, gifts, and service may we respond to this tremendous crisis, knowing that our Lord will be faithful to bring comfort and healing through our witness of His love.
With paternal love in Christ,
Archbishop of America