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Orthodox Churches Respond In Aftermath Of Hurricane Katrina

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  • Bill Samsonoff
    2005.09.02 HNA: ORTHODOX CHURCHES RESPOND IN AFTERMATH OF HURRICANE KATRINA New York, NY - Following the devastating landfall of Hurricane Katrina on the
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 2, 2005
      2005.09.02 HNA:

      New York, NY - Following the devastating landfall of Hurricane Katrina on
      the shores of the Gulf Coast, Orthodox Churches throughout the United
      States and the world are responding to assist with the relief effort. The
      powerful storm hit portions of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama on
      Monday. Reports are stating that 80% of the city of New Orlean is flooded,
      and power and communications systems are not functioning throughout the region.

      In response to the disaster, His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America
      called on all Orthodox faithful to offer their prayers and resources to
      meet the needs of hundreds of thousands who have lost property and
      livelihoods. In a special encyclical he stated:

      "I write this letter on behalf of the Holy Eparchial Synod of the Greek
      Orthodox Archdiocese of America in the wake of the fatalities, heavy
      damage, and trauma caused by Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana, Mississippi,
      and Alabama. This natural disaster has affected entire communities
      throughout these States, and today many thousands of people are mourning
      the painful loss of their loved ones, their homes, and their businesses as
      a result of the violent storm. As an Orthodox Christian community, our
      first and foremost response must be a call to prayer for the eternal rest
      of those who lost their lives and for comfort and strength to be granted by
      the merciful God to those left behind. Our prayers, however, must also be
      joined by a tangible _expression of material assistance, so that those
      affected by this tragedy may receive the help that they need to recover
      from this overwhelming catastrophe."

      His Eminence called on all of the parishes of the Archdiocese to take
      special relief collections on either Sunday, September 4 or Sunday,
      September 11, to be sent to the Archdiocese for the "Hurricane Katrina
      Disaster Relief Fund."
      Relief efforts are also being coordinated by International Orthodox
      Christian Charities (IOCC), the humanitarian aid agency of the Standing
      Conference of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA). IOCC
      already has response teams working with parishes in the Gulf Coast area, as
      well as coordinating the Orthodox relief efforts with other private and
      government relief agencies like Church World Services. More information on
      the relief efforts and needs of IOCC can be found at www.iocc.org.

      Donations are being steadily received through the web site of the
      Archdiocese. A special donation site has been established to allow
      individuals to contribute directly to the Hurricane Katrina Disaster Relief
      Fund. Donations to this fund will be used to address the needs of the Greek
      Orthodox communities, as well as for assisting the general relief effort.
      Donations can be made at www.goarch.org/hurricanerelief/.
      Further assistance is being coordinated through the efforts of Orthodox
      parishes in the region. The Annunciation Cathedral in Houston, Texas is
      working with IOCC to determine immediate needs. The school of the Cathedral
      will be working with Houston area schools to assist with the educational
      needs of students who may be displaced through the end of the year. The
      Saint George Church in Shreveport, Louisiana is also working with IOCC and
      is coordinating an emergency hotline to help persons in the area locate
      family members. At the present time, the status of the Holy Trinity
      Cathedral in New Orleans is not known, but the area where it is located has
      experienced heavy flooding.
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