Orthodox Prelate Visits IOCC Hurricane Response Center

Baltimore, MD (September 13, 2005) — His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, Chairman of the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA), visited Baton Rouge, La. on September 9, 2005 to meet with members of the IOCC Emergency Response Network and partners who have been providing assistance to displaced families following the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina.

Archbishop Demetrios, accompanied on his visit by Metropolitan Alexios of Atlanta, Bishop Andonios, Greek Orthodox Archdiocese Director of Philanthropy, and the national president of the Greek Orthodox Ladies Philoptochos Society Georgia Skeadas, was briefed by IOCC Executive Director Mr. Constantine Triantafilou at a Second Harvest warehouse that has become an ecumenical center for the distribution of assistance in Baton Rouge.

After the briefing, staff and volunteers at the facility were addressed by Archbishop Demetrios who offered inspirational words of consolation and encouragement. The group included many who had themselves been displaced by the storm’s wrath and who were filled with emotion by the visit.

“Archbishop Demetrios’ gift of love to those who have been impacted by this tragedy is inspiring,” said Triantafilou. “His presence exemplifies the support that the SCOBA member jurisdictions have given IOCC in this most recent disaster.”

In addition to witnessing the pan-Orthodox humanitarian efforts, Archbishop Demetrios led a Prayer and Memorial Service at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Chapel in Baton Rouge with Father Anthony Stratis, pastor of Holy Trinity Cathedral in New Orleans, assisting.

Following the service, Archbishop Demetrios presented Triantafilou with a $100,000 contribution from the Archbishop Iakovos Leadership 100 Fund and $100,000 from the special fund set up for the hurricane victims by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America over which he presides.

National Chairwoman Georgia Skeadas also presented a $50,000 check on behalf of the Philoptochos membership in support of the IOCC effort.

The trip concluded with a visit to Catholic Charities in Baton Rouge, where Archbishop Demetrios was received by the Roman Catholic Archbishop of New Orleans Alfred Hughes, Bishop Meunch of Baton Rouge, National Catholic Charities Chairman Father Larry Snyder and Bishop Jenkins of the Episcopalian Diocese of New Orleans and their staffs. The meeting reflected the interfaith cooperation which has been successful in delivering assistance to thousands of displaced families in and around the Baton Rouge area.

IOCC is a pan-Orthodox organization founded in 1992 as the official humanitarian aid agency of SCOBA. IOCC’s relief and development programs bring urgent and sustainable assistance to people suffering from war, poverty, disease and natural disasters. Since its inception, the organization has provided more than $200 million in assistance to 29 countries around the world.