Archbishop Demetrios Honors IOCC for 10 Years of Service

Baltimore, MD (April 19, 2002) — International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) represents a hopeful, healing response to a world increasingly filled with despair, alienation and insecurity, said His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese on Thursday.

“What we offer is something very, very precious,” Archbishop Demetrios said, speaking of IOCC. “We offer a presence in these areas that are either in conflict or in increasing insecurity.”

His Eminence was the guest of honor and keynote speaker at IOCC’s 10th anniversary commemoration dinner, held Thursday at the Annunciation Orthodox Center in Baltimore, Md.

IOCC was founded in 1992 by the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas, of which Archbishop Demetrios is the current chairman. It is the official humanitarian aid agency of SCOBA and, in the last 10 years, has done more than $140 million in programs in 21 countries.

Through its relief and development work, IOCC has shown that the Orthodox Church can respond to the hardest challenges facing the world today, the archbishop said.

“IOCC is something for which we are very proud,” he said. In the last 10 years, IOCC has “opened avenues for Orthodox activity where no one imagined we would ever go.”

In his capacity as chairman of SCOBA, Archbishop Demetrios conveyed the bishops’ blessings, thanks and continued support for IOCC. Also on Thursday, SCOBA issued a special letter commemorating IOCC’s 10th anniversary.

“We urge all Orthodox Christians in America to offer strong support to IOCC – through prayer and through gifts of money and other resources,” the bishops said. “In IOCC, we, the bishops and clergy and laity of the Orthodox churches in America, have a common instrument to do the work of Christ’s compassion.”

Bert Moyar, newly elected chairman of the IOCC board of directors, also addressed the audience of 380 guests, outlining his vision for IOCC’s future. During Thursday’s program, event Chairpersons Jeanne and Nick Tsakalos presented Archbishop Demetrios with a hand-written icon of St. Sava, the 13th century founder of the Serbian Orthodox Church. The icon was painted in a Serbian workshop supported by an IOCC program.

Thursday’s activities included a proclamation by Baltimore Mayor Martin O’Malley declaring April 18, 2002, as “IOCC 10th Anniversary Day.” Izzy Pantoka, director of the mayor’s Office of Neighborhoods, read the proclamation during the dinner program.

The program was preceded by a special vespers service at Baltimore’s Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Annunciation, presided over by Archbishop Demetrios and attended by several area clergy, including the Rev. Constantine Monios, a longtime supporter of IOCC and cathedral dean.