Articles on Orthodox Christian Charity


Prison Ministry Awareness Sunday

The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops has appointed the Sixth Sunday of Pascha May 20, 2012, as Prison Ministry Awareness Sunday in all Orthodox parishes of North America. As the official prison ministry of the Assembly of Bishops, Orthodox Christian Prison Ministries is grateful for the designation of this important day, when all Orthodox Christians are called to unite in prayer for those in prison and their families. Please mark your calendar, pray, and consider supporting OCPM on Prison Ministry Awareness Sunday.

Kory Warr, Chairman of OCPM, writes:

"The ministry of OCPM continues to grow at an incredible pace. When I took over the correspondence ministry a couple of years ago, we received somewhere around 25 letters per month; now, we receive close to 200. Every two weeks, I send out a general letter to over 300 men who are in prison. I also correspond personally with around 70 men. Our correspondence is on substantive matters of faith; it is decidedly not small talk.

IOCC Leaders Meet With His Beatitude Ignatius IV

His Beatitude Ignatius IV with IOCC Chair Michael HomseyHis Beatitude Ignatius IV with IOCC Chair Michael HomseyBaltimore, MD (IOCC)--When long-time Oklahoma City attorney and former judge Michael S. "Mickey" Homsey was named as the new Chairman of the Board of Directors for International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC), one of his top priorities was to see firsthand the impact of IOCC’’s humanitarian relief and development work around the world. On January 22, 2012, Homsey fulfilled this wish as he embarked on a one-week tour of IOCC programs in Lebanon, Jordan and Syria, accompanied by his wife and by IOCC Executive Director Constantine Triantafilou.

Syria held particular interest for Homsey because of its recent visibility in the world media and IOCC’s response to provide humanitarian assistance to Syrian families internally displaced by conflict in the region. Since its founding in 1992 and as an expression of solidarity with the church to continue its witness in the cradle of Christianity, IOCC has collaborated with the Patriarchate of Antioch, supporting education and distributing equipment to diaconal institutions.

IOCC and OCF Partner for Unique Real Break Project

Real Break Houston offers college students and young adults a chance to provide relief to those who have lost their homes in recent natural disasters.

Orthodox College Fellowship (OCF) is teaming up with International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) to build homes in Houston, Texas for families who have lost everything to the devastating hurricanes and flooding along the Gulf Coast.

This is also billed as a great opportunity to connect with other college students and young adults from across North America.

The trip cost of $550 covers lodging, food, transportation and materials while in Houston.

OCF Executive Director Jennifer Nahas urges, "please come to Houston and build a house!!! From March 24 through March 31st, OCF students and alum, along with Habitat for Humanity and IOCC, will be working on helping a family affected by the Hurricanes in Texas. Thanks to a donor, we can now offer this trip for $550. Please, chapter leaders, tell your chapter and your friends. WE NEED YOU!"

For more information, contact John Mahfouz at programs@ocf.net.

IOCC Race to Respond: Seeking Two Cross-Country Cyclists

February 17, 2012

Ten years ago, five determined and dedicated IOCC supporters cycled their way across the U.S. to celebrate IOCC's tenth anniversary of service providing humanitarian assistance worldwide. The Race to Respond riders raised funds for those in need and put IOCC on the map with the new Orthodox Christian supporters they encountered through cities and towns across California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York.

Lead rider, Jim Angelus, is ready to repeat this feat and is seeking a crew chief to drive the pursuit vehicle and two cross-country cyclists to join him again in honor of IOCC's 20th anniversary of humanitarian service. This time, the cross-country route will take the cyclists along the northern tier of the country from Seattle, Washington, through Idaho, Montana, North and South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, covering approximately 3,000 miles in 33 days.

Cyclists must have prior experience in training and participating in strenuous long distance events. Much like the 2002 ride, cyclists will have to endure the psychological and physical demands of approximately 33 days of continuous cycling at approximately 90 miles per day.

The tentative timeline for this cross-country cycling event is June 26 – July 31. This timeline includes travel and time prep time in Seattle. Cyclists will be responsible for costs incurred on this cross-country trek, approximately $4,000. This includes travel expenses, equipment, accommodations and food, as well as the shared cost for a crew chief that will be providing SAG. Those interested should contact Jim Angelus at jamesangelus@verizon.net for more information.

Greek Archdiocese Appeal for Relief Fund for the People of Greece

Archbishop DemetriosArchbishop DemetriosFor I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink.

Matthew 25:35 – Judgment Sunday

Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

On behalf of the Holy Eparchial Synod of our Holy Archdiocese of America, I am writing to you, the faithful members of our Holy Orthodox Church here in the United States, this heartfelt appeal for our brothers and sisters in Greece. The financial crisis that has rocked Europe and deeply affected Greece has reached proportions where the suffering of innocents and the ordeal of common people cry out for urgent and substantive help. So many of our families have roots in Greece and many of us have relatives and friends who are now experiencing privation unknown in that country since the time of the harsh occupation of the Second World War.

FOCUS Board Appoints New Executive Director

The Board of Directors of FOCUS North America announces the appointment of Nicholas J. Chakos as its new Executive Director.  Chairman Charles Ajalat said, “The Board of Directors is extremely blessed and excited to have found such a great leader to take FOCUS North America to the next level.”

Nick Chakos has over 15 years of experience and demonstrated success in Orthodox non-profit leadership, fundraising, strategic planning, and program development and evaluation. He is both an Archon of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the recipient of the Miron Cross, the highest distinction given by the Romanian Orthodox Church to civilians for outstanding social service to Romania. Nick has been with International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) for 13 years, occupying positions such as Interim Director of Development and as a member of the Executive Team. Prior to IOCC, Nick worked for Tanzanian Development Association, a division of the Orthodox Church in Tanzania. Nick is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, and is passionate about domestic social action.

Mr. Chakos is expected to join FOCUS on February 16.

 

 

Works of the Order in Action!

The Order of St. Ignatius of Antioch and International Christian Charities (IOCC)

Ehmej School (near Byblos, Lebanon) before and afterEhmej School (near Byblos, Lebanon) before and after

In the parable of the Sower and the Seed (Matthew 13:1–23), Jesus explains to His disciples that the one “who receives the word on good ground is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”

Each year the Order of St. Ignatius of Antioch makes a grant to International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC). This annual grant of $25,000 is much like the seed or word which falls on good ground. IOCC uses this “seed money” and leverages it with grants from governmental agencies, non-governmental organizations and churchbased charities to bear fruit in abundance. Here are some examples:

Outreach to the Needy from St. John the Evangelist Church + Orinda, CA

by Fr. George Washburn

In the last two years St. John the Evangelist Antiochian Orthodox Church in Orinda, CA has engaged in several new forms of outreach to needy people. In each case we have learned that when we respond to God’s love shed abroad in our hearts by Christ (Rom. 5:5), we receive back both anticipated and unanticipated dividends from the Lord Himself… and those we serve!

1. Project Mexico: For two summers in a row teams of adults and kids from our parish have spent a week at St. Innocent Orphanage and built a simple new home for a poor family.

AFR Highlights the Work of IOCC in Syria

Syria is in the news a lot these days, but what kind of work is being done by the Church in light of the current circumstances? Listeners may be surprised. In this edition of Ancient Faith Presents, Samer Laham, the Director of the Department of Ecumenical Relations and Development for the Patriarchate of Antioch in Damascus, discusses the ongoing humanitarian work of the IOCC in the country.

IOCC Recruiting Volunteers for 2012 Orthodox Action Teams

Since the devastating hurricanes in 2005, International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) has provided over 600 volunteers and thousands of man-hours to help surviving families along the Gulf Coast rebuild their lives by constructing new homes or doing critical renovations to existing ones. Working in partnership with Habitat for Humanity, IOCC expanded its efforts last year by sending Orthodox Action Teams to build homes in Houston.

For 2012, IOCC will extend its humanitarian reach with more home construction and restoration projects set for Houston and for Minneapolis, which suffered a destructive tornado last summer. IOCC is currently recruiting volunteers for one week of active service in Houston or Minneapolis. You do not need to be skilled – just energetic! Activities vary depending on location and construction schedules, but can include siding, roofing, framing, landscaping, painting and support.

For details and a list of teams and dates, visit the IOCC's website.