Archbishop Elpidophoros of America is pleased to announce that the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese (GOA) Earthquake Relief Fund for Turkey and Syria has raised a total of $700,000, now ready for disbursement through a GOA collaboration with International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC).
Launched in February 2023 following the devasting earthquakes in Turkey and Syria, the GOA Relief Fund comprises the generous contributions of parishes, faithful, and affiliated organizations, including a $250,000 donation from the Greek Orthodox Ladies Philoptochos Society, Inc. and its local chapters. It is specifically designated to assist those displaced by the earthquakes in Türkiye, where an estimated 2.7 million people have lost their homes.
“Months after the catastrophic earthquakes and aftershocks in Turkey, many of our sisters and brothers continue to grapple with an unimaginable material and emotional toll,” said His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros. “I pray that our offerings provide comfort and care to those rebuilding a path forward, and that the Lord grant peace to those suffering the loss of loved ones and livelihoods.”
The Archdiocese’s collaboration with IOCC will support communities in Antakya (ancient Antioch) and nearby towns and villages in the Hatay province, where IOCC has worked closely with the local Orthodox church to identify and assess the needs of families in the area. Accordingly, the GOA Earthquake Relief Fund will be administered to:
- Build 20 prefabricated homes on local church land allocated for temporary and transitional shelter connected to electricity, water, and sewage services. Displaced families will be living near their damaged properties in Antakya, facilitating faster restoration, return home, and reuse of the prefabricated houses by other families in need.
- Provide one-off cash assistance through local retailers to approximately 540 households, chosen by a committee of local clergy, local parish foundations (analogous to parish councils), and IOCC, in accordance with set criteria.
Informed by its proven track record in humanitarian relief, IOCC’s expert on-the-ground team will monitor and evaluate the project’s progress. The aim is to improve the living conditions of internally displaced households— especially those with children, elderly members, or members with special needs— and to alleviate the financial burden on the local Orthodox church and host families, which have provided shelter to displaced people since the immediate aftermath of the earthquakes.
An IOCC supplement of approximately $100,000 covers the remaining costs for the project. Implementation begins in July 2023 and completion is expected in December 2023.
Source: Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America