Saturday, February 2, 2013

The Youth Movement Launches a New Appeal for Aid to Syria

Arabic original here.  Those in North America might consider giving to the IOCC's Syria fund, by selecting "Syria Relief Fund" under "Designations" here.

To members of the Orthodox Youth Movement,
To all whose hearts Jesus Christ has wounded with love:

Greetings in the One who redeemed ours sins and infirmities with His blood,
"Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts" (Hebrews 4:7).

Around ten months ago, the General Secretariat of the Movement launched the work of the Social Emergency Committee, and at that time designated its activity to be alleviating the impact of events in Syria on the poor, needy, and displaced brothers from among the children of our Church, their neighbors, and compatriots. By the grace of the Lord and the active presence His love in our brothers, the committee was able to help some of them, if even with only a widow's mite to for them to treat some of their many wounds.

The latest report from the commission, which came out at the end of last year indicates that it has offered close to 70,000 USD. The majority of the sources were from donations from the General Secretariat and the centers and the efforts of some brothers abroad, as well as donations from a small number of  brothers. Through various Church channels, the committee sent the money to our dioceses in Syria, according to the most urgent needs. It is obvious to all of us that meeting these needs in a way that ends the suffering of our brothers in faith and in humanity and that pleases the Lord requires much, much more. We are living through one of the greatest humanitarian crises of our era. Tens of thousands of killed and wounded, hundreds of thousands of displaced, destruction on the scale of the world wars. Fear, anxiety, and uncertainties afflict the hearts of wide sections of society with regard to what awaits them in the future.


This crisis has caused the issue of how we treat the poor and needy to once again be a topic of reflection. This is because, if we want to be honest with God, our brothers, and ourselves, with the boldness of God's children, then we must admit that, no matter who we are, the way in which we deal with this issue is not in the measure expected of those who proclaim their complete commitment to the cause of Christ on earth. Likewise, it does not adequately embody our trust in what the Lord Himself proclaimed to us, what we learned in His Church, that our love for them and our our service to them is the foundation upon which salvation is built. Saint Basil the Great reminds us of this principle in his letter to his friend Eustathius, "I thought that the best way to start along the path of perfection is to take care of the needs of those impoverished brothers and sisters, to buy food and distribute it to them. I cast aside all possessions and put all the problems of the world  far from my mind. I searched for those who could share this work with me and accompany me on this path, until I found those with whom I could embark upon the ocean of this world."

Insofar as love for the poor does not have first place in our Gospel, insofar as we do not strive to embody it through serious, regular giving that accompanies our life and is in accordance to frameworks and mechanisms appropriate to our time and to the needs around us, then we free sons in Christ have lost the path of perfection and have become slaves to ourselves and to our consumerist desires. Money becomes that god who leads us away from Him who redeemed us, so we can "take rest" in our selfishness and the hardness of our hearts. We are the children of Jesus Christ, Jesus who did away with all idle speech and spoke His love with blood, with His holy, divine blood. We are the children of Jesus Christ, Jesus the child in the cave who kept company with fishermen and the weary and lived among the simple. We are the children of this God who entrusted us to extend His love into history and existence, to teach the peoples how the simple and suffering were redeemed by love and how love matches the beloved, just as God matched all existence with what it desires and needs.

Let us accept God's having entrusted us, and come together. Come, let us take part in the kingdom of giving. Let us organize together in all the branches and centers [of the Movement], starting at the end of February, for regular monthly giving that will liberate us from parsimonious seasonal giving and lift us up to where God wants us to be, above everything that veils from us from being close to and seeing Him.

Come, brothers, let us repent together to Jesus Christ through His beloved poor.

January 21, 2013

Questions regarding the activity of the committee can be addressed to Rene Antoun at reneantoun [at]

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