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Dear in Christ, the Fathers and Laity of our Archdiocese, God bless you!
"In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: It is more blessed to give than to receive." (Acts 20:35)
You all have seen the terrible and distressing images of destruction across Turkey and Syria, caused by a powerful earthquake in the early hours of Monday 6th February. This natural disaster will cause heartbreak around the world, but for many of us in this Archdiocese, with family and friends living in the area of devastation, the pain will be much worse. Perhaps some of you have already heard dreadful news, or perhaps you are waiting for information. I am united with you in prayer, as is the whole Archdiocesan family.
Patriarch JOHN X has appealed to every bishop of the Holy Synod of Antioch, for donations to be sent to those who are in most need as the rescue and recovery operations get underway. I realise that the current economic climate in the UK is extremely difficult, but nevertheless I must ask you all to please consider making a donation if you can. The money will be used to buy first aid, food and shelter for those who now have nothing. All donations should be sent to the Archdiocesan bank account (details at the bottom of this letter) before the end of February, so that one payment can be made to the Patriarchate on behalf of the whole Archdiocese.
Above all, and because we have unshakable faith in the All-Holy Spirit to make all things new, I direct that the following petition be added to the Great Litany at all celebrations of the Divine Liturgy until the end of February. This petition should come before "Help us, save us, have mercy on us...":
"For the suffering people of Turkey and Syria, for their relief from natural disaster, let us pray to the Lord."
Finally, I request that a special service of supplication be made in each parish after the Divine Liturgy on Sunday 12th February. I leave the form of this service to the discretion of each parish priest.
The bank account to send all donations to is:
Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese
Sort code 30-90-91
Please use 'Earthquake Appeal' as reference.
I remain your Father in Christ
Metropolitan of the Orthodox Christian
British Isles and Ireland