TSUNAMI: Statement / Appeal

Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America

Statement/Appeal Regarding the Tsunami in the Indian Ocean Basin

December 29, 2004

Venerable Hierarchs, Esteemed Members of the Board of Trustees, and Beloved Clergy and Faithful of this God-Protected Archdiocese:

We hope and trust that you have had a most blessed and joyful Nativity celebration. We are writing to you on the threshold of a New Year which we pray will be filled with peace and tranquility throughout the world. It is in this spirit that we also make this appeal to you.

You have all no doubt been following the news of the terrible devastation in Southern Asia, in the wake of the powerful tidal waves that swept across the Indian Ocean, striking the countries of Sri Lanka, India, Indonesia, Thailand, Bangladesh, Burma, and Malaysia. The current estimates place the number of dead in excess of 60,000, with disaster experts predicting that the death toll could reach 100,000. This does not account for the enormous numbers of injured and homeless people due to this tragedy.

In my entire life, I have not witnessed a natural disaster that has caused human tragedy on this scale. It brings pain to all of us that the people in this part of the world, who already suffer more than their share of poverty, must also endure this suffering. Two of the Fathers of the Holy Orthodox Church speak with power and conviction regarding our responsibility as Christians in this time of need:

“The price of the Kingdom is the food that you give to those who need it.” – St. Leo the Great

“Feeding the hungry is a greater work than raising the dead.” – St. John Chrysostom

We completely support the efforts of the International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) to respond to this emergency need. We call on all members of this Archdiocese to contribute generously to this appeal through the IOCC. Specific information on how to contribute can be found H E R E.

Praying that you will have a blessed New Year, I remain,

Your Father in Christ,

Metropolitan PHILIP

Archbishop of New York and Metropolitan of All North America

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