Genocide, Philanthropy and St. Nicholas Shrine
Welcome to “This Week in Orthodoxy”, the world’s only online video newscast focused on events in the life of the Orthodox Church. I’m Emmy Louvaris. These are some of the stories making headlines the week of March 25th, 2016
1. State Department Designates ISIS’ Actions Against Christians and Other Religious Minorities as Genocide
2. Philoptochos Women in NY Feed the Hungry
3. Former Appleton Parish Makes Major Contribution to St. Nicholas National Shrine
U.S Declares Genocide
First up, Washington D.C. Secretary of State John Kerry designated that ISIS heinous actions against Christians and other religious minorities as genocide. His announcement came just days after the US House voted unanimously in favor of a concurrent resolution that did the same, and follows similar action from the European Union.
Just the second time a US administration has labeled actions as genocide during an active conflict.
Congressman Jeff Fortenberry, who co-led the unanimous House resolution commended Secretary Kerry and the State Department for making this important designation. He continued, “The genocide against Christians, Yazidis and others is not only a grave injustice to these ancient faith communities – it is an assault on human dignity and an attack on civilization itself. The United States has now spoken with clarity and moral authority.”
Nate Lance, Advocacy Manager for ICC stated, “International Christian Concern is grateful that Secretary Kerry has decided to call ISIS for what it is: genocidal. Their killing, enslavement, human trafficking, rape, and destruction of Christian and religious minority communities in Iraq and Syria can be classified as nothing else.
Although there is uncertainty and disagreement regarding next steps, having the genocide designation in place raises international concern and solidarity against ISIS to the highest level. This is an important step in defeating this group and restoring freedom to the communities that they have terrorized.”
International Christian Concern, ICC, is a Washington DC based human rights organization that exists to help persecuted Christians worldwide. For Advocacy, and Assistance to the worldwide persecuted Church go towww.persecution.org
Philoptochos Helps Poor in NY
And next up, the Ladies Philoptochos Society has been the philanthropic arm of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese for over 85 years fulfilling their mission to “help the poor, the destitute, the unemployed, the hungry, the orphaned, the imprisoned, the widowed, those with disabilities and the victims of disasters”. With over 400 active chapters nationwide and 26,000 members, Philoptochos is able to respond immediately to needs and crises and works through National and Metropolis Boards. They spearhead many programs that help people in all walks of life.
“Feeding the Hungry” is one such program, and the Philoptochos women of New Rochelle, NY are working towards taking the sting away from homelessness even if it’s just for one day a month. Bringing together members of their community they prepared meals, provided warm clothing, blankets, toiletries and above all compassionate hearts as they worked for this homeless outreach ministry.
Meeting and speaking with those who came in, the ladies were struck by the gratitude and thoughtfulness of people whose own circumstances were unfortunate and still had enough place in their hearts to think of others and save food and blankets for them.
What is incredible about this ministry is the way in which love and care expands and grows as the Philoptochos ladies worked together serving and witnessing Christ in the eyes of each one of the homeless who came to them that night.
To learn more about Philoptochos’s major initiatives like Feeding the Hungry: 250,000 Meals, the Children’s Medical Fund, or the Saint Nicholas National Shrine at Ground Zero.
Appleton Parish Makes Major Contribution to St. Nicholas Shrine
And Lastly, St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in Appleton, Wisconsin recently held it’s last service. While this parish within the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago is merging with another, its parishioners wanted to be sure their parish would be remembered forever.
Struggling for years to keep its doors open, the congregation approached their Hierarch for some direction.
With the blessings of the Metropolitan, they decided to donate $100,000 to the construction of the St. Nicholas National Shrine in New York City at the site of Ground Zero.
The sum, is a portion of the remaining assets from the sale of property and prior savings in Appleton and will allow the name of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church of Appleton to be forever placed among the Shrine’s benefactors. St. Nicholas in Wisconsin will live on as a part of St. Nicholas in New York.”
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That brings another edition of “This Week in Orthodoxy,” to a close. Wishing you a Blessed Lenten Season, for everyone here in our OCN studios, I’m Emmy Louvaris. Let’s go forth in peace.
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