Syrian refugees take shelter in Orthodox Church on Greek Island

Syrian refugees take shelter in Orthodox Church on Greek Island


Syrians in Orthodox Church

Syrian refugees on Lesbos, shelter in Orthodox Church

Thousands upon thousands of refugees, have entered Greece via the Greek Island of Lesbos, which is only 6 miles from the Turkish border. In the last several days, especially, the island has seen several hundred come ashore. Many of those attempting to find a new home have lost their lives in the treacherous and cold waters, hoping to beat winter and find freedom as soon as possible. The entire island has rallied to help these Syrians and other refugees, with volunteer lifeguards and the Greek coast guard assisting them upon arrival. Often times they have been pulling them out of the ocean, just off shore if their small boats have been destroyed or capsized.

Even more impressive than saving their lives in this dangerous journey, is now getting a better glimpse into their charity and love for all human kind. The pictures from the links below show the Greek Christians hosting their Muslim neighbors. What an incredible witness for the Orthodox faith! The priests on the island have opened the churches to care for the sick and the tired.

Please show your support for the Greek people and the Refugee Crisis, and contribute whatever you can to IOCC and their mission, and especially keep them all in your prayers!


HOW YOU CAN HELP: Make a financial gift to the IOCC International Emergency Response Fund, which will provide immediate relief as well as long-term support through the provision of emergency aid, recovery assistance and other support to help those in need. Please visit or call toll free at 1-877-803-IOCC (4622), or mail a check or money order payable to IOCC, P.O. Box 17398, Baltimore, MD 21297.

To read more about the effects of the Syrian refugee crisis on Lesvos, click: New York Times article, and see more pictures at Pappas Post

Photo credit: Helen Zahos of Australia via the Pappas Post



IOCC is the official humanitarian aid agency of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America. Since its inception in 1992, IOCC has delivered $534 million in relief and development programs to families and communities in more than 50 countries. IOCC is a member of the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of more than 140 churches and agencies engaged in development, humanitarian assistance and advocacy, and a member of InterAction, the largest alliance of U.S.–based secular and faith-based organizations working to improve the lives of the world’s most poor and vulnerable populations. Learn more about IOCC online at:

The Orthodox Christian Network (OCN) is committed to the support of her sister agencies under the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops.  This includes IOCC (International Orthodox Christian Charities).  “In the spirit of Christ’s love, IOCC offers emergency relief and development programs to those in need worldwide, without discrimination, and strengthens the capacity of the Orthodox Church to so respond”.  IOCC has undertaken significant initiatives to help those in need.  Notably 92% of every dollar donated to the IOCC directly helps those affecting dire situations.


The Orthodox Christian Network (OCN) is an official agency of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops.  OCN offers videos, podcasts, blogs and music, to enhance Orthodox Christian life.   We also report on news events in the Orthodox Church and produce This Week in Orthodoxy, a weekly news video with stories and issues of interest to Orthodox Christians around the world.

About author

Eleni Alexiou

Eleni brings to the Orthodox Christian Network diverse experience as an accomplished director in both nonprofit and for-profit sectors. She holds a BS from Florida State University, a Master’s of Clinical Social Work from Simmons College School, a LCSW-C (License in Clinical Social Work) with years of experience working within the Orthodox community. She is a leader in non-profits and administration with 20 years of supervisory experience, staff development & management, coordinating of volunteers, community outreach, and fundraising. Eleni joined OCN to inspire and spread media ministry in the Orthodoxy.