June 11, 2007
Baltimore (IOCC) International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) has “fulfilled the yearning of the Orthodox Church in America to manifest the spiritual power of the Gospel and the compassion of Christ.” That was how the most recent encyclical by the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA) described IOCC on the occasion of the organization’s 15th anniversary.
Founded by SCOBA in 1992 in the midst of the historic upheavals of the end of Communism in Eastern Europe and the beginning of the Yugoslavian civil wars, today, IOCC has become the preeminent philanthropic arm of North American Orthodox Christians as it responds to man-made and natural crises wherever they occur. While continuing its work in Russia and the Balkans, IOCC has now expanded its emergency and development work to places like Lebanon, Indonesia, Ethiopia, the Holy Land, and the U.S. Gulf Coast.
The encyclical (the full text can be found at www.scoba.us) likens IOCC to the “Good Samaritan” who “delivers the blankets, the food, the hygiene and other materials needed in emergency situations, and then returns to provide the assistance that will enable the poor and dispossessed to become truly self-sufficient.” IOCC first established its reputation in Russia and gained international attention during the civil war in Bosnia when it responded to the emergency needs of refugees and displaced peoples. Its development work continues in Bosnia-Herzegovina today with programs for microcredit loans, youth education and training, and civil society development.
Since 1992, IOCC has delivered more than $250 million in emergency and long term sustainable development programs to 33 countries on four continents. Recent highlights of IOCC’s humanitarian work include its response to the 2004 tsunami in Indonesia and Thailand, the 2005 hurricane season that devastated the Gulf Coast, and the 2006 war in southern Lebanon.
Today, IOCC’s full portfolio of programs includes community development and mobilization, refugee return and assistance, microcredit and start up capital, agriculture and food production, disaster and emergency relief, education and training, youth development and services, social welfare, school construction and repair, and gifts-in-kind programs.
“Renewed by this hierarchical blessing of our SCOBA bishops, we will redouble our efforts to provide food, shelter, economic self-sufficiency and hope to all peoples,” says Executive Director and CEO Constantine M. Triantafilou. “As we mark this 15th anniversary milestone, we thank God and every one of our church leaders, donors, board members, volunteers, and staff who have helped IOCC expand throughout the world and increase our services by the tens of millions of dollars,” he said.
Click here to read the full text of the encyclical.
Media calls: Contact Amal Morcos at 410-243-9820 or (mobile) +1-443-823-3488.
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