Encyclical of Archbishop Demetrios for Prayers and Aid for Japan
To the Most Reverend Hierarchs, the Reverend Priests and Deacons, the Monks and Nuns, the Presidents and Members of the Parish Councils of the Greek Orthodox Communities, the Distinguished Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Day, Afternoon, and Church Schools, the Philoptochos Sisterhoods, the Youth, the Hellenic Organizations, and the entire Greek Orthodox Family in America
Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Our hearts are filled with sadness and compassion as we have seen the apocalyptic images of mass destruction and suffering following the earthquake and tsunami which struck Japan last Friday. In response to this historic tragedy, we may be rendered speechless, seeing the extent of the devastation and the plight of so many. However, our faith in our gracious God leads us to respond to human need both in prayer and in action to sustain life and offer solace in a time of great loss.
For the people of Japan, I ask first and foremost that the faithful of the Greek Orthodox Church in America offer their fervent prayers. May we join with so many throughout our world in asking God to grant them comfort in this hour of pain. May we pray for renewed strength and hope, so that livelihoods may be restored and families and friends be re-united. We also pray for the containment of the tremendous damage caused by the malfunction of the nuclear plants in the area. Mostly, we pray for the eternal repose of the countless lost in this disaster.
The restoration of life and community will require the effort of our global community. I encourage you to join IOCC (International Orthodox Christian Charities, www.iocc.org) or other local and national efforts, such as the Red Cross, as so many of you do in response to needs around the world. Please select the agency of your choice to contribute for the relief of this disaster. In love, you give generously, and through this offering we can offer a witness of the love of Christ as Orthodox Christians.
With paternal love in Christ,
†DEMETRIOS, Archbishop of America
Metropolitan Philip Appeals for Earthquake Relief in Japan
His Eminence Metropolitan Philip writes:
“Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.” (Acts 2:44-45)
Once again we are confronted with the images of destruction, death and human tragedy in the wake of the severe earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan on Friday, March 11th, 2011. More than 3,000 are confirmed to have died, with the toll expected to be higher. Countless people are homeless or without shelter, and the damage to the nuclear power plant is threatening to cause additional harm to the people and environment for many years to come. We have many Orthodox brothers and sisters in Christ in Japan. Many of the churches have suffered damage from the earthquake, and the status of many of the faithful is still to be determined. As the quote above from the Book of Acts reminds us, it has always been the tradition of the Church to help all of those who are in need. As such, we are asking all of our parishes and missions to appeal for prayers and donations in order to assist the victims of this tragedy in Japan.
We encourage all of our faithful and parishes to channel their donations through the IOCC which has already mobilized resources to assist the people of Japan. You may go to www.iocc.org in order to obtain information about the IOCC’s relief effort in Japan and information on how to make a donation.
May our Lord bless the remainder of your Lenten journey.
Your father in Christ,
Metropolitan Philip, Primate
The Self-Ruled Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America
Metropolitan Council Charity Committee earmarks $5,000 for Japan relief efforts; Holy Synod calls for parish support
SYOSSET, NY [OCA] — On March 16, 2011, the Orthodox Church in America’s Charity Committee announced that $5,000.00 has been earmarked to assist International Orthodox Christian Charities [IOCC] in its relief efforts in Japan.
«As we continue to pray for the victims of the ongoing disaster as a result of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, we likewise call upon the faithful of our Church to support IOCC’s work in assessing and addressing relief efforts in conjunction with its partners and the Autonomous Orthodox Church in Japan,» said His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah. «In this context, and in the same spirit of caring so evident in similar appeals in the past, all parishes and faithful are asked to offer financial assistance to IOCC, to which all donations and financial support should be directed.»
The Holy Synod of Bishops asks that special collections for this purpose be taken in all parishes on the second and third Sundays of Great Lent, March 20 and 27. All contributions should be sent directly to IOCC — not to the OCA Chancery — at PO Box 630225, Baltimore, MD 21263-0225. Individual donations may be made on-line at www.iocc.org or by calling toll free at 877-803-4622.
The Japanese Orthodox Church’s East Japan Diocese, headquartered in Sendai, was especially hard hit, according to His Grace, Bishop Seraphim of Sendai, now a retired hierarch of the Orthodox Church in America.
«I lived in Sendai for 15 years and every year went up and down the coast, visiting the towns whose horrific images are all on our televisions,» Bishop Seraphim said. «I just want to attest, however, not to my personal feeling, but to the goodness of the people of those places — Ishinmomaki, Kesanuma, Sakari — all as of this moment out of contact, and Yamada, whose little church was washed away in the tsunami. But it is the people, also suffering in their homes and lives as well as in the loss of their church, in which for generations they persevered in so many difficult times, that surely your heart as well as mine goes out to and whom we want to stand with and help them in this time. Through them I have no doubt that the Orthodox Church will endure there, but through your help how much more they will be encouraged, renewed, and strengthened in its mission.»
It has been reported that there are over 20 parishes in the East Japan Diocese, served by five ( 5) priests, one of whom has been missing since the earthquake.
Orthodox Church in Japan Assesses Needs of Survivors, Searches for Missing Priest. Τεράστια η ανάγκη για ανθρωπιστική βοήθεια ( τσουνάμι-ραδιενέργεια ) προς τον Ιαπωνικό λαό μέσω του IOCC. Αγνοείται Ορθόδοξος ιερέας στη περιοχή Tohoku. Συγκλονιστικό βίντεο από Αϊτή
The Orthodox Church in Japan – Japanese Orthodox Church. Προσευχή για τον ιαπωνικό λαό και τους Ορθόδοξους Ιάπωνες αδελφούς μας. Οι πρώτες ανταποκρίσεις για τους Ορθόδοξους Ιάπωνες του Σεντάι ( αγγλικά ).
Orthodox churches on Japan’s Pacific coast destroyed, communications lost – bishop
Moscow, March 15, Interfax – Bishop Seraphim of Sendai (the Japanese Autonomous Church) told about serious consequences of the earthquake in Japan for the country’s Orthodox believers.
«On God’s mercy the church in Sendai was not seriously damaged and life in the city is being restored. However, churches on the Pacific coast are destroyed and we lost communications with them,» the bishop said in his message sent to Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia on Tuesday.
He thanked the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church for «kind words» addressed to clerics of the Japanese Church, the Moscow Patriarchate reported on its website.
«The earthquake inflicted great, hardly describable damage to the eastern coast of North Japan, including the Sendai Diocese. Help comes to victims from all over the country, but we don’t have the full picture of developments as the roads and communications are destroyed,» Bishop Seraphim said.
According to him, the information from believers is coming and «the number of supposed victims will be significant.»
«We, survived priests and parishioners, will fulfill our duties as far as we can,» the Bishop assured Patriarch Kirill.
Districts on the territory of the Sendai Diocese greatly suffered from the destructive earthquake and tsunami in the north-east Japan on March 11.
The number of the Japanese who identify themselves with Orthodoxy equals to about 30,000 people.
The Japanese Autonomous Church was founded by St. Nikolay (Kasatkin) who came to Japan on 1861 on the decision of the Holy Synod. He founded and headed the Russian Orthodox mission in Japan in 1870. He translated the Holy Scripture and liturgical books into Japanese and built the Resurrection Cathedral in Tokyo.
The Russian Orthodox Church canonized Archbishop Nikolay in 1970. The Moscow Patriarchate granted autonomy to the Japanese Orthodox Church the same year.
Russian Church fundraises for Orthodox believers in Japan
Moscow, March 15, Interfax – The Moscow Patriarchate is fundraising for needs of Orthodox believers who suffered from the earthquake in Japan.
«We start collecting aid in Sts Martha and Mary Convent in Moscow. We’re fundraising for needs of the country’s Orthodox communities,» head of the Synodal Department for Charities and Social Work Bishop Panteleimon of Orekhovo-Zuyevo told Interfax-Religion on Tuesday.
According to him, there is no any accurate and detailed information about damage inflicted to Orthodox churches in Japan.
«However, we know that some churches were badly damaged, one or two are destroyed,» the bishop said.
Bishop Panteleimon added that his department fundraises together with the Synodal Department for External Church Relations.
«Means can be transferred to the accounts of the Synodal Department for Charities in rubles, dollars and euros. We will publish detailed information about donated money,» he said.
APPEAL TO SOLIDARITY WITH THE VICTIMS OF THE EARTHQUAKE OF JAPAN
The Press Office of the Romanian Patriarchate informs us:
While remembering the urge of Saint Paul the Apostle who says: “Weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15) as a sign of compassion and solidarity, the Romanian Patriarchate urges the hierarchs, clergy and faithful of the Orthodox parishes and monasteries in the country and Diaspora to organise fund raisings for helping those affected by the earthquake of Japan which caused the death of thousands of human lives and huge material losses.
We kindly ask that the amounts raised be deposited in the following accounts of the Romanian Patriarchate:
opened at the Romanian Commercial Bank, branch Sector 4, Bucharest, mentioning “Help for Japan”.
The Romanian Patriarchate will consult the Orthodox Metropolitan See seated in Tokyo and provide financial assistance directly to those who suffered because of this natural calamity in Japan, hoping that the generosity of the Romanian Orthodox clergy and faithful will bring a little comfort and assistance for the moral revival and material reconstruction of the communities so hard tried in this Far East country.
Biroul de presă al Patriarhiei Române, ne informează:
Luând aminte la îndemnul Sfântului Apostol Pavel care zice „Plângeţi cu cei ce plâng” (Romani XII, 15), în semn de compasiune şi solidaritate, Patriarhia Română adresează ierarhilor, clerului şi credincioşilor de la parohiile şi mănăstirile ortodoxe române din ţară şi diaspora îndemnul de a organiza colecte în bani pentru ajutorarea celor afectaţi de cutremurul devastator din Japonia care a curmat mii de vieţi omeneşti şi a provocat imense pagube materiale,
Rugăm ca sumele colectate să fie depuse în următoarele conturi pentru sinistraţi ale Patriarhiei Române:
deschise la Banca Comercială Română, filiala Sector 4, Bucureşti, cu menţiunea „AJUTOR PENTRU JAPONIA”.
Patriarhia Română în consultare cu Mitropolia Ortodoxă a Japoniei, cu sediul în Tokyo, va oferi ajutorul financiar direct celor care au de suferit în urma acestei calamităţi naturale din Japonia, cu speranţa că generozitatea clerului şi credincioşilor ortodocşi români va aduce un strop de alinare sufletească şi ajutor pentru refacerea morală şi reconstrucţia materială a comunităţilor atât de greu încercate din această ţară din Orientul Îndepărtat.