I’ve noticed that there doesn’t seem to be a good and up-to-date list anywhere on the web of Orthodox Christian charities. And I don’t often remember hearing the work of Orthodox Christian charities out there being publicised at Orthodox churches I’ve attended. And that’s a pity, because there are wonderful Orthodox charities out there that need our prayers and financial help.
I’m not saying for a minute that we Orthodox should only give to Orthodox charities – of course not. But it’s good to give charitably to the Church’s humanitarian and missionary projects, and to help our poor and sufferings brothers and sisters around the world (as was expected from the very earliest days of the Church – see the book of Acts and the New Testament epistles), as well as giving charitably to other humanitarian projects and to help those who are poor and needy who are not within the Church. I’ve noticed that Protestant charities exist in abundance, and Evangelical churches often seem to be linked in to their own particular charitable projects, and the work of Catholic charities like CAFOD is well publicised in Catholic churches, whereas here in the UK when Orthodox churches I’ve attended/attend are involved in charitable work or raising money for charity it almost always seems to be for non-Orthodox charities. Likewise, I’ve barely seen any mention of most Orthodox charities on Orthodox forums and Facebook groups. It takes some searching to find the wonderful work great-hearted brothers and sisters of ours are doing to help the poor and suffering and to share the gospel. And so I think they miss out on a lot of money and help and prayers that they need because most Orthodox simply aren’t aware of the Orthodox charities out there.
And so I thought, as we’re in the Christmas season, which is – even more than any other time – a time for gift giving, generosity, loving, sharing the gospel, prayer, kindness, sharing joy and peace, I would put a list up of the Orthodox charities which I’ve come across & which look like very worthy causes. (I think it’s important to remember that the origin of ‘Father Christmas’ is St Nicholas and his faith-based charitable giving to the poor & needy.) If you are aware of any charities I’ve missed out, please do let me know 🙂 This is not an exhaustive list by any means, but just one small attempt to begin to plug a current gap by contributing a short list of the charities I’ve come across that look to be doing good work. I will try to keep updating the list, so if you let me know any recommendations you have, when I get a free moment I’ll add them in.
‘For I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you welcomed me; I was naked and you clothed me; I was sick and you visited me; I was in prison and you came to me… as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.’
– Matthew 25:35-36, 40
‘The rich exist for the sake of the poor. The poor exist for the salvation of the rich.’
— St. John Chrysostom
CHARITIES & MISSIONS:
International Orthodox Christian Charities. https://www.iocc.org/
‘IOCC, 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 respond’.
IOCC is the Orthodox version of Oxfam and CAFOD. IOCC is not a missionary charity, and does not only give to Orthodox communities and countries. Its work is solely humanitarian, and it offers help to people of many different countries, faiths, and cultures, without discrimination. I give to this charity regularly, and it sends me updates in the post as well as by email about the work it’s been doing recently, which involves helping those affected by the crises in Syria and the Middle East, helping impoverished and/or crisis-stricken communities in Africa, helping with the refugee crisis in Greece. It is involved in long-term work in more-than-fifteen countries and four continents.
Orthodox Pakistan. http://orthodoxpakistan.org/
‘The Orthodox Mission in Pakistan (OMP) was officially established in 2005, under the omophorion of the Orthodox Metropolitanate of Hong Kong and South East Asia. Currently there is one Orthodox priest in all of Pakistan, Fr. John Tanveer, and over 400 faithful. At present, OMP does not have a physical church building. For now, the faithful gather for liturgy in the home of Fr. John. OMP dreams of building an Orthodox church where the faithful can come and worship.
OMP’s primary mission is to serve the spiritual needs of the Orthodox faithful of Pakistan.
OMP seeks to witness to and represent Christ’s love by ministering to those in need. OMP provides for those in need without regard to caste, creed, religion, or other social distinctions. OMP is particularly concerned with caring for orphans, the elderly, invalids, the homeless, shut-ins, the indigent, prisoners, and those who are physically or mentally ill. Through Fr. John’s labors and with the help of volunteers, OMP assists those in need by providing:
- Medicines and medical supplies for the sick
- Financial assistance
This is another charity I give to quite regularly. Christians in Pakistan face discrimination and persecution, and those who are converts from Islam risk death. This Orthodox mission operates within very challenging conditions and seems very worthy of our prayers and any financial help we can give.
‘PK4A 7 P4K are full volunteer organisations raising funds for Faith, Food and Education in the poorest nations on Earth. We sponsor missionaries recommended to us by Orthodox Monk Rev Themi Adamopoulo, who has served in Africa for over 20 years from the East Coast to the West Coast. Rev Themi’s mission is to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet the human needs, in the name of Jesus and through the love of Jesus without discrimination. On average, over 90% of all funds collected for Approved Grants are sent to Africa to be dispersed by Rev Themi. P4KA & P4K pay no salaries, have no staff, operate no offices, own no property, with all work and workers being voluntary.’
This charity is very close to my heart, and I have been a regular donor for some while. The work Fr Themi, and the courage of him and his community to remain in Sierre Leone and continue to help and love the needy through the ebola crisis, is amazing. The charity both helps the poor and needy and is an Orthodox mission – so it does both necessary things, which is great. The charity also keeps in touch with regular donors by email updates about the work they’re doing, so I know how my money is being used and that it’s still getting to the right place and helping to do a lot of good, and also that Fr Themi mentions me and every donor by name in his prayers – which is a wonderful and touching thing to know.
St Nicholas Africa Fund. https://stnicholasmarin.org/africafund/
‘The St. Nicholas African Education Fund is a Charitable Works project of our parish [St Nicholas Orthodox Church, OCA], which has sent well over $100,000 to Africa over the past four years— mostly Uganda, but also to South Africa and Congo— to help educate needy high school students in some of the poorest countries of the world, and for other occasional needs, usually medical.’
Ancient Faith Radio. www.ancientfaith.com
Ancient Faith Radio is an invaluable resource, providing very high quality Orthodox radio (with a music channel and a talk channel) across the world, and having an extensive library of podcasts on the Orthodox faith. It has been instrumental in many conversions to Orthodoxy as well as helping those within the Church to grow in faith and have the knowledge to get through hard situations. It has a shop, which I guess must make some of the money which funds the radio station, but is otherwise entirely listener funded.
Mull Monastery. https://mullmonastery.com/
Fr Seraphim Aldea (whose great podcasts you may have heard on Ancient Faith Radio) is in the process of building an Orthodox monastery in the Hebrides. This would be a wonderful mission and a re-awakening there of the Celtic sanctity and tradition of monasticism. He is asking for any help that we can give in order to achieve this project.
‘It is very simple, really. To found the first Orthodox Monastery in the Celtic Isles of Scotland in over a millennium, we need everyone’s help – that includes you, as well, no matter how insignificant your help may seem.
So far, we own the church and we have raised the funds to buy five acres of land around it. This summer (2016) we shall repair the roof of our 1755 church and make this listed monument waterproof and windproof again.
All that is left is to raise the money to build a small monastic house, so we may have a place to live. The aim is to built it in the summer of 2018.
If you have read so far, please consider making a donation. We know that it represents more than just money. It is your sacrifice – of time, hard work and love – for God, for this monastery and the wonderful Saints the Hebrides have given us. May God bless you for your love.’