To The Clergy and the Faithful of the Holy Archdiocese of America 

Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I am writing to you on behalf of the Eparchial Synod of the Holy Archdiocese of America concerning a tragic event. Over the past few days we have shared great concern and sorrow with the people of Greece and the leaders of the Hellenic Republic regarding the devastating fires that continue to threaten people and homes. This tragedy has already taken dozens of lives and destroyed communities in the areas of Peloponnesos and Evia and has received international attention and offers of assistance. As Greek Orthodox faithful in America we must continue to offer fervent prayers for the victims and surviving families of this catastrophe with the hope that favorable conditions for life and peace will be restored soon.

Therefore, on Sunday, September 2, we ask all of the parishes of our Holy Archdiocese to offer petitions for the safety and comfort of all those affected by the fires and for the rapid end of fires and acts of arson. In addition, at the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy a special Memorial Service should be held for all those who have lost their lives as a result of the fires. It is also requested that our parishes take a special collection on this Sunday, September 2 or on Sunday, September 9 to assist with the efforts to bring comfort, aid, and hope to those whose communities and homes have been destroyed. All collections either from parishes or individuals should be sent to the Archdiocese and designated for the Greek Fire Relief Fund. Our prayers and our gifts of love will assist those in need and will also be a witness of the strong bonds of Faith and heritage that we share with the people of Greece, especially in this time of tragedy. 

As our good and gracious Lord is merciful, may we offer our love and gifts to our brothers and sisters. Knowing the boundless generosity and love of you, the faithful of America, we are confident that you will respond most generously to this appeal to help those people who have lost loved ones, their homes and their livelihoods and who will need our assistance both on a short and long term basis to recover from this devastating tragedy.

With paternal love in Christ, 

Archbishop of America