We are blessed to welcome His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to the United States.
Click here for the Patriarchate's youtube channel
Click here for the "Green Patriarch"' youtube channel:
Click here for the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America youtube page with continuing coverage of the Patriarch's visit
His All Holiness' website has a huge amount of information. Below are some FAQ's and click here for the full list
Q. What is the Ecumenical Patriarchate?
A. The Ecumenical Patriarchate is the honorary and spiritual centre of the Orthodox Church throughout the world, tracing its history to the Day of Pentecost and the earliest Christian communities founded by the Apostles of Jesus Christ.
A. The title "Ecumenical Patriarch" dates from the sixth century and belongs exclusively to the Archbishop of Constantinople. But his role was defined as early as the 4th century. At the 4th Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon (451), the Archbishop of Constantinople was given "equal privileges" to the Bishop of Rome.
A. In 330, the Roman Emperor Constantine transferred the imperial capital to the small city of Byzantium, renaming it Constantinople or "New Rome." Due to its political and historical importance, the city quickly assumed political and ecclesiastical prominence, with all of the (seven) Great Councils of the early Church held either in or near Constantinople.
A. The Ecumenical Patriarch presides in historical honor among all Orthodox Primates, as "first among equals." He also traditionally serves as the focal point and spokesman for Orthodox Church unity, convening inter-Orthodox councils, as well as inter-Church and inter-faith dialogues.
His All Holiness wrote an Op-Ed piece in the Wall Street Journal. Click here to read the full piece, but here is an excerpt:
" Climate change, pollution and the exploitation of our natural resources are commonly seen as the domain not of priests but rather of politicians, scientists, technocrats or interest groups organized by concerned citizens. What does preserving the planet have to do with saving the soul? A lot, as it turns out. For if life is sacred, so is the entire web that sustains it."- His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew
Click here to watch a video of His All Holiness calling harming the environment a sin.
I recently did a presentation to a local GOYA on mission work and service and handed out some information on different ways that the teens could be involved. Here it is for you!
YES- Youth Equipped to Serve (formerly known as OYO)
This is a great way for you to volunteer and help people. YES provides opportunities for junior high and high school students to participate in formative weekends of service, with the ultimate purpose being to raise up a generation of Orthodox Christians who lead others in living out the true mission of the church- to love and serve our most needy neighbors. Check out their website http://yesnorthamerica.org/ or call Katrina Bitar Program Director at 602-790-6900
OCMC- Orthodox Christian Mission Center
“OCMC will recruit, train, send, and support Orthodox missionaries to preach, teach, baptize, construct, and minister to the spiritual and physical needs of those being served and saved.” Basically they send missionaries for short or long term mission trips all over the world to help those less fortunate and bring the Gospel of Christ to them. Visit their website to donate or find out about upcoming trips. http://www.ocmc.org/
IOCC- International Orthodox Christian Charities
Their mission: “in the spirit of Christ’s love, offers emergency relief and development programs to those in need worldwide, without discrimination, and strengthens the capacity of the Orthodox Church to so respond.” They provide help to countries all over the world, and not just to Orthodox people. They provided aid to Greece after the horrible wild fires in 2007. Check out their website to donate money or see how you can volunteer. http://www.iocc.org/
FOCUS North America
Their mission is “As an expression of Christ’s love FOCUS North America serves the hungry, thirsty, stranger, naked, sick and imprisoned by providing Food, Occupation, Clothing, Understanding, and Shelter.” They seek to “Serve those in need, by providing aid through our programs and partners, Support Orthodox Christian social action ministries, agencies, professionals, and volunteers; and Supply parishes and others with the education, resources and training needed to initiate social action ministries in their own communities.” Check out their website to see how you can volunteer or donate http://www.focusnorthamerica.org/
OCF Real Break
OCF Real Break is the popular alternative spring break service-learning program in countries around the world. Each spring, over 100 students attend various trips during their spring breaks to destinations including Constantinople, Greece, Guatemala, Jerusalem, Romania, Mexico, Alaska, and more. Check out www.ocf.net for more information on OCF and Real Break.
Here are some non-Orthodox organization as well….
Habitat for Humanity
Their website states “We seek to eliminate poverty housing and homelessness from the world and to make decent shelter a matter of conscience and action. To accomplish these goals, we invite people of all backgrounds, races and religions to build houses together in partnership with families in need.” Check out their website to see where you can volunteer locally.
Volunteer Match/Salvation Army
This is a cool website that links you up with volunteer opportunities locally. The Salvation Army website uses them, but you can also just show up at your local Salvation Army and see if you can help.
http://www.salvationarmyusa.org or http://www.volunteermatch.org/
The Red Cross offers assistance to people in America and throughout the world, specializing in disaster aid. Check out their website to see how you can volunteer or where you can donate blood. http://www.redcross.org/