The Hierarchs of the Standing Conference of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas
SCOBA Encyclical for IOCC Sunday
To the Most Reverend Clergy, Venerable Monastics and Devout Faithful
of the Holy Orthodox Churches in the Americas
Dearly Beloved in Christ Jesus,
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and from our Lord Jesus Christ.
On this Sunday before our national feast of Thanksgiving, we give thanks to our Merciful God for all His blessings, and we take time to remember International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC). As the humanitarian aid agency of SCOBA, IOCC serves throughout the world as ambassadors of God’s mercy. Agency staff and partners feed the hungry, care for the sick, and provide essential relief to those whose lives have been shattered by man-made and natural disasters. Through your generous support, millions of hurting people receive the care and attention that all people deserve.
IOCC’s mission is to respond to our Lord’s call to minister to those who are suffering and are in need throughout the world, sharing with them God’s gifts of food, shelter, economic self-sufficiency, and most importantly, hope. Since its inception in 1992, IOCC has delivered more than $275 million in services to some of the world’s most vulnerable people. From famine relief in Ethiopia to assisting the victims of Hurricane Katrina; from fire fighting equipment for Greece after the devastating wildfires of 2007 to relief for the war-torn Caucasus (both in Northern Ossetia and Georgia), IOCC brings comfort and assistance to literally tens of thousands.
As Saint Paul said to the Corinthians, God provides us with the means, in every way, so that we will be generous at all times (2 Cor. 9:11). A generous heart makes way for the grace of God to freely flow both to the one who receives, and to the one who gives. Through our giving, as God has given us, we enter a holy cycle that glorifies God and uplifts our fellow neighbor. When you support IOCC this holiday season, your love extends to families in need of food and shelter.
As your spiritual shepherds, we exhort you to be mindful of your blessings, and to joyfully share your bounty with those who are struggling throughout the world, as well as your loved ones. In doing so, you not only bring them help and hope, but you kindle the holy flame of God’s love.
May our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ bless you and your families this holiday season, as we offer thanksgiving to Him, and make ready to receive Him anew in His Glorious Nativity in Bethlehem.
With paternal blessings and love in Christ,
†Archbishop DEMETRIOS, Chairman
Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America
†Metropolitan PHILIP, Vice Chairman
Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America
†Metropolitan CHRISTOPHER, Secretary
Serbian Orthodox Church in the USA and Canada
†Metropolitan NICHOLAS of Amissos, Treasurer
American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese in the USA
†Bishop MERCURIUS of Zaraisk
Representation of the Moscow Patriarchate
†Archbishop DMITRI Locum Tenens
Orthodox Church in America
Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese in America and Canada
Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox Church
Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA
†Bishop ILIA of Philomelion
Albanian Orthodox Diocese of America