Publisher: Orthodox Can Make a Difference through IOCC

Cleveland, OH (June 5, 2003) — International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) provides Orthodox Christians in the United States with a unique opportunity to transcend their differences and work together to meet some of the world’s most pressing needs, newspaper publisher Alex Machaskee said on June 2.

Machaskee, president and publisher of The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer, Ohio’s largest newspaper, was keynote speaker for the 11th annual banquet and assembly of IOCC’s Cleveland Metropolitan Committee.

The committee is one of 27 such groups across the country that advance the humanitarian mission of IOCC through fund-raising and volunteer work.

Machaskee said the banquet was a celebration of the Cleveland community’s “unity of purpose and effectiveness” in supporting IOCC, the official humanitarian aid agency of Orthodox Christians. Ohio consistently ranks among the top three states that support IOCC.

“We have an extraordinary spirit of giving in the Greater Cleveland community,” he said. “I urge that all of you look deeper and ask yourselves if you are serving God in all that you do and in the way that he had intended.”

Machaskee, who serves on the Executive Committee of IOCC’s Board of Directors, challenged the 400-plus attendees to work to ensure the future of IOCC and other pan-Orthodox organizations. “Sometimes I feel that we are deficient in the charitable area. So many needs exist and many go unmet,” he said. “That is why I care so deeply about the mission of IOCC and philanthropy in general.”

Calling IOCC an extension of God’s compassion in the world, Machaskee highlighted the agency’s work in areas such as Serbia and Montenegro, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Romania, the Russian Federation, the Republic of Georgia, and the Middle East.

“It is difficult to maintain a presence in areas where IOCC has been working that are no longer in the news … but where there is significant work yet to be done,” he said. “Thus, Orthodox commitment to philanthropy is more critical than ever.”

Machaskee noted that IOCC’s humanitarian mission is expanding to places such as Iraq, the Horn of Africa, Southeast Asia, Argentina and beyond. “As always, it is doing so on behalf of Orthodox Christians and in concert with the Orthodox Church,” he said.

IOCC Board President Bert Moyar also addressed the audience, thanking them for their support of IOCC. Moyar introduced a visiting Orthodox priest, Fr. Andrew Mondal of Calcutta, India, who thanked IOCC for its support of a program that feeds street people, including children, in Calcutta.

IOCC Board Member Fr. Irinej Dobrijevic began the evening with an invocation. His family announced the formation of a special fund in memory of his mother, Milica Dobrijevic, who died on May 18.

Fr. Irinej’s niece and nephew, Nikola and Andjelka Zamiska, presented the fifth annual Diane Zamiska Award (in honor of their late mother) to longtime IOCC supporter Paula Svilar.

The banquet was co-chaired by Fr. Anthony and Presbytera Eleni Demetri of Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Cleveland. The banquet was hosted by St. Michael’s Russian Orthodox Church in Broadview Heights, Ohio.