News & Information – April 2009
I am pleased to present to you a very important and landmark report on the state of Orthodox charitable organizations called, “Orthodox Diakonia Worldwide: An Initial Assessment.” This report was commissioned by IOCC to provide a mapping of activities of major Orthodox charitable and humanitarian organizations worldwide, and is a follow up to the 2005 International Conference on Orthodox Social Witness and Diakonia in Valamo, Finland.

Since the fall of Communism in the 1990s and the opening of Eastern and Central Europe to the west, there has been a steady return of the Orthodox Church as a dynamic force in the social, political and humanitarian arena. While charitable work has always been a natural outgrowth of the liturgical and spiritual life of the Orthodox Church, the Church had previously been constrained in organizing, networking and ultimately cooperating with other Orthodox churches and non-Orthodox entities in the international arena. Today, we see a renewed commitment by the national churches and their development organizations to learn, grow and cooperate with one another.

Strengthening the capacity of the Orthodox Church to respond to emergencies and to help communities achieve economic sustainability remains at the heart of our mission and our strategic planning. As I write this, I think of the many Orthodox volunteers building new homes on the Gulf Coast, of the Orthodox priests in Uganda making their school for AIDS orphans self-supporting, and of our Metropolitan Committees staging fundraising events throughout the U.S. Thank you for making diakonia real and vital in your own communities.

Click here to download “Orthodox Diakonia Worldwide: An Initial Assessment”

In Christ,

Constantine M. Triantafilou
Executive Director and CEO

Alexander G. Rondos Meritorious Service Award: Nenad Prelevic, IOCC Serbia
IOCC recently presented its first Alexander G. Rondos Meritorious Service Award to Nenad Prelevic, IOCC Program Manager in Serbia. The award recognizes an IOCC employee for outstanding work above and beyond the call of duty. Nenad began working with IOCC in Serbia as a field assistant in 1998, providing emergency relief distributions and managing complex programs. Currently, he oversees a variety of programs that assist isolated and impoverished communities with agricultural and sustainable economic development programs in Serbia, Montenegro and Kosovo. Nenad has also assisted other IOCC field offices including coordinating emergency distributions in the aftermath of the 2007 wildfires in Greece. He recently traveled to Australia on behalf of IOCC where he assisted the local Orthodox community to organize their own wildfire relief distributions. Alex Rondos, for whom the award is named, was IOCC’s first Executive Director. “When I worked for Alex, I always felt that he would do whatever it took to support me in my work to help those that IOCC serves. It’s in this spirit that Nenad and other IOCC staff members follow,” said IOCC Executive Director and CEO Constantine M. Triantafilou.

Gaza Relief Work Expanded
Four months after the conflict in Gaza and IOCC continues its war relief work, repairing homes and public facilities and providing food, hygiene supplies and psychosocial support for children suffering from trauma. IOCC recently received a second $750,000 grant from ARD, Inc by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). This second grant will enable IOCC to provide relief to an additional 6,000 families (about 42,000 people). The Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem has assisted IOCC in identifying vulnerable families in Gaza.

Check out this blog by IOCC staff working on the ground in Gaza.

Presvytera Takes Leap of Faith:
Volunteers to Build Homes on the Gulf Coast
“I’m pretty sure that I am not alone in my struggle and longing to belong. It wasn’t until I took a leap of faith and traveled with International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) to volunteer on the Gulf Coast that I realized that what I was looking for wasn’t really found within the walls of 200 Hempstead Street. No, my friends, it is bigger than that. What I learned as I toiled for five days in the blazing Louisiana sun was that it isn’t enough to go to church. To really belong, you need to be the church.” READ MORE

Help Build New Homes on the Gulf Coast Today!

IOCC Volunteer of the Month:
Debra George, Syracuse, NY
Debra George of Syracuse, NY, had known very little about IOCC, but all that changed earlier this year when an IOCC speaker came to her parish. December’s war in Gaza would also prove to be a turning point. “As a mother of three, all I could think of at that point was what a nightmare it was for the children,” says Debra. “I couldn’t sleep and I prayed constantly for those young innocents.” Then she decided to contact IOCC and put on an event to raise funds for Gaza. Although she had never planned an event, she was convinced that the suffering people of Gaza needed her help now. Debra and the women of St. Elias Antiochian Orthodox Church planned a Gaza benefit luncheon in early March. Over 200 people attended in what turned out to be the largest IOCC fundraiser ever held in Syracuse. They raised nearly $10,000, which will enable IOCC to continue its work of providing food, blankets, hygiene supplies, home repairs, and job opportunities for vulnerable families in Gaza. This experience inspired Debra and other members of her parish to join IOCC’s Syracuse Metropolitan Committee and they are now hoping to have an IOCC event at St. Elias on an annual basis.

Find Out About IOCC Volunteer Opportunities!

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