Parishes to Celebrate Orthodox Charity on IOCC Sunday

Baltimore, MD (November 3, 2003) — Hundreds of Orthodox Christian parishes all across the United States will celebrate their role in the rebuilding of homes, the returning of refugees, the feeding of children, the training of women and other humanitarian accomplishments on IOCC Sunday, Nov. 23, 2003.

Falling annually on the Sunday preceding Thanksgiving, IOCC Sunday engages parishes in the mission of International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC), the humanitarian aid agency of Orthodox Christians.

The day was designated by IOCC’s parent body, the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA), to be observed by all Orthodox parishes, which play a key role in advancing the humanitarian work of IOCC through stewardship and other forms of support.

“In the short period of 11 years, IOCC has earned the respect and trust of all who have come to know its sacred mission,” said the nine SCOBA bishops in their annual IOCC Sunday encyclical letter.

“The services of IOCC have expanded … from an initial focus on crisis relief to the offering of new hope to people who have known only sadness and despair,” the bishops said.

The SCOBA encyclical will be read in Orthodox parishes on IOCC Sunday. A copy of the encyclical can be found at (PDF file).

The bishops noted in their encyclical that IOCC works in the Balkans, the Middle East and other parts of the world, helping people rebuild their homes and communities after war, training people in agricultural techniques, teaching women marketable skills, and providing daily meals and lessons to schoolchildren.

IOCC offers a way for Orthodox Christians to practice stewardship, make a difference in the lives of people in need, and become “leaders in good works,” the bishops said.