Orthodox Churches Respond In Aftermath Of Hurricane Katrina
- 2005.09.02 HNA:
ORTHODOX CHURCHES RESPOND IN AFTERMATH OF HURRICANE KATRINA
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.