+Our Righteous Father Joseph

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

May the grace and peace of the Lord be with you!

The land of our ancestral heritage of Greece has once again been stricken with devastating fires that have destroyed, among other areas, a densely populated region outside of Athens. Fires continue to burn in other parts of Greece which is a cause of great concern for the country and its citizens. Many people have lost their homes, their livelihood, and innumerable personal belongings. It will take them many years to rebuild their lives, especially during these times of economic hardship. Furthermore, the afflicted areas have been considered to be very important for the fragile ecological balance in Greece and the Balkan areas. This will only further add to the devastation and destruction.

It is our responsibility, as Greek Orthodox Christians, to step forward during this tragedy and offer our prayers and support for those who are suffering. The Lord instructs us to provide for others, “...for I was hungry and you gave Me food…I was a stranger and you took Me in….Inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.” (Matthew 25:35, 40). Let us follow this example and make an offering from our hearts to initiate physical and spiritual healing for the people of this region.

I have instructed the clergy of the Metropolis of San Francisco to offer a special petition this Sunday, August 30 during the Divine Liturgy to pray for the safekeeping and restoration of our brothers and sisters in Greece who are suffering from this loss.  I am also requesting that our parishes pass a special collection to provide assistance for those who are in need following these fires.  Donations should be directed to the Metropolis of San Francisco (memo: Greek Fires 2009), 245 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA 94103. These funds will be forwarded to appropriate relief agencies for distribution to the victims.

May the Lord grant peace and comfort to all those affected by the fires, and may He stretch forth His mighty hand and protect them and their loved ones from all danger and adversity.

With Love in Christ,
+ G E R A S I M O S
Metropolitan of San Francisco