U.S. Faithful Reach out to Haitian Orthodox Communities
Both the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia and the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Mexico, have parishes in Haiti, and all have been impacted in varying degrees, by the devastating earthquake of January 12. V.Rev. Victor Potapov, the Executive Director for the Fund for Assistance of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, reports that the Assistance Fund has collected over $50,000 and disbursed $16,000 of aid to the suffering people of Haiti through trusted clergymen on the ground there. "This is an ongoing fundraising effort," he explains. "We are working towards opening a clinic on the grounds of one of our five parishes in Haiti. Please pray for Fr. Gregoire, Fr. Jean, their long-suffering parishioners and for the members of our delegation, who are doing a magnificent job in Haiti, negotiated with the United Nations, the Red Cross, IOCC and other organizations to get aid to our people."
Deacon Matthew Williams of ROCOR, recently returned from a trip to Haiti, where he summarized in an online report the desperate condition of parishioners there. Among other difficulties he describes, he says "Three parishes (in Port-au-Prince, Leogane, and Jacmel) were directly affected by the earthquake. In Port-au-Prince the church is badly damaged and must be repaired or replaced before it is safe to resume services in the building. In Leogane the church (a rented building) was completely destroyed."
Additionally, Dn. Matthew notes that "the school operated by Fr Jean Chenier-Dumais was completely destroyed along with his home and vehicle...in Leogane...the houses occupied by the parishioners were completely destroyed and the entire parish is living in an outdoor camp."
Donations to the ROCOR Haiti Relief fund can be made here. One hundred percent of the gifts go directly to the suffering Orthodox Christians of Haiti. To learn more about ROCOR's Haiti ministry, visit their Haitian Mission website.
There are two Greek Orthodox parishes in Haiti under the Metropolis of Mexico. The first is the parish of St. John the Baptist in Pétionville, a district in the capital of Port-au-Prince. The second is the newly established parish of St. Mathias. In a January 13 Encyclical, His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios wrote, “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."