To the Editor:
Current economic conditions in Greece have turned into a full-blown humanitarian crisis. I anticipated this several months before the situation hit its saturation point, which is why I urged International Orthodox Christian Charities to study and assess the problem ahead of time.
I’m extremely proud of International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) and its executive director, Dean Triantafilou, for all their fine work over the last 20 years. IOCC is the only Orthodox Christian charity operating on a transnational level. It is a widely-recognized and highly-respected philanthropic agency, which has provided humanitarian relief to people all over the world, and has elevated Orthodox Christianity’s sacred profile.
I’m glad that Archbishop Demetrios convened a meeting of Greek-American organizations at the end of last month to discuss American-based relief efforts for Greece, and I applaud the Archdiocese and all Hellenic organizations for getting together on this matter.
I also want to encourage them to work with IOCC, which has the necessary experience and knowhow about what it takes to make relief efforts effective. IOCC is our Church’s philanthropic arm – the Church in action – and as was the case during the Greek wildfire disaster of 2007, it is our community’s best available resource for coordinated humanitarian efforts.
The archbishop has initiated much-needed relief on April 10 by giving the Church of Greece $500,000 on behalf of the Archdiocese, and he should be congratulated for going to Greece in person for that last week. That is a good start, but it’s only a start.
We need to match – and exceed – the efforts we made for the wildfire disaster, in response to which the Archdiocese raised $4 million for IOCC. Archbishop Demetrios is clearly aware of this, but the community needs to help His Eminence and the Archdiocese do more, and to keep in mind that relief efforts for Greece will need to be sustained for the long run. Our brothers and sisters overseas are really suffering right now, and they will need our staunch support for years to come.
John G. Rangos, Sr.
Boca Raton, FL