Orthodox Humanitarian, Campus Ministries Join Forces to Help Poor

Baltimore, MD (February 18, 2005) — International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) and Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) are joining together to help youth through a new Lenten service project for college students in North America.

Known as Project Axios!, the initiative will draw on the energy and creativity of Orthodox college students to help children and their families worldwide through IOCC.

“This is an outreach not only to those whom the college students are helping, but also to the college students themselves, who I believe will benefit greatly from it,” said Fr. Timothy Sas, OCF executive director.

Project Axios!, which takes its name from the Greek word for a worthy person, will enable college students to raise funds and awareness on campus for IOCC youth programs each year during Lent. There are about 180 OCF chapters in the United States and Canada.

Fr. Sas said Project Axios! will enhance the experience of Orthodox college students by widening their outlook and strengthening their identity as citizens of the world. “The role of OCF is to find new opportunities for college students to grow from by participating in them,” he said. “This partnership with IOCC is one vital way of doing that.”

Project Axios! also will give college students an opportunity to learn about the faith foundations of IOCC’s humanitarian mission and to grow in their own faith, he said.

“A life of service is a life which is well-pleasing to God,” said Fr. Marc Vranes, spiritual adviser to the OCF chapter at the University of Connecticut. “Now, it is a life which Project Axios! will allow Orthodox college students to begin experiencing first-hand.”

By participating in Project Axios!, college students will raise critical support for IOCC youth programs in more than 16 countries, such as computer training for students in the former Yugoslavia; HIV/AIDS education and care in Ethiopia and Romania; school construction and renovation in the rural West Bank; and tsunami relief efforts in South Asia.

“Project Axios! reflects the Orthodox belief in the value of each individual through active service to others,” said IOCC Executive Director Constantine M. Triantafilou. “I’m pleased that this partnership is opening new avenues of outreach for Orthodox college students — to their fellow students and to people in need around the world.”

Founded in 1992, IOCC is the official humanitarian aid agency of the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA). OCF is the official campus ministry of SCOBA.