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Aid For The Suffering Church of Antioch

From the Diocesan Chancery

In these days, when we prepare ourselves for the Feast of the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ, we in the Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox Diocese of the USA, Canada and Australia have had the chance to experience the meeting with our Lord twice – first we were reminded of the needs of our small brothers and sisters in the Orphanage of St. Nicholas, near Novi Han, Bulgaria, and second we met our Lord in the person of His Holiness John X, the Patriarch of the Martyr Orthodox Church of Antioch.

Patriarch John X had come to the USA to officiate the service of the Enthronement of the recently elected Metropolitan of the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of North America, His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph. Knowing the hardships which our fellow Christians endure in the Middle East, many of whom are being murdered or forced to leave their homes or afflicted in many savage ways because of their faith, and bearing in mind that His Holiness, as the Patriarch of the Antiochian Orthodox Church witnesses these pains of his spiritual children, and bears himself the burden of these afflictions, we considered his visit to the Antiochian and the broader Orthodox community in the USA as a visit of the suffering Christ Himself. We believe this is true because the martyrs and confessors of our Orthodox faith there are so close to Christ. The mere perseverance of the Christians to stay there is a confessorship and it proclaims the victory of Christ over all afflictions of the world, even over death.

On behalf of the faithful from the Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox Diocese of the USA, Canada and Australia, the representatives of our Diocese at the Enthronement, His Grace Bishop Daniil of Dragovitsa, the Vicar of our Diocesan Metropolitan and Archpriest Peter Totev, Rector of the Diocesan Cathedral, were honored to present a check of $14,500.00 to His Holiness for the needs of the suffering Orthodox Church of Antioch. His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph of the BEOD had sent a letter addressing His Holiness on this occasion which you can find below.

To many, $14,500.00 may seem like pocket money, but having in mind that the same donors had raised $10,298.00 for St. Nicholas Orphanage in Bulgaria, and most of them are giving not from their wealth, but from their need, we greatly thank all of you who answered the call from your Christian love. The donation for St. Nicholas Orphanage will help the children to have heat during the winter. In the same manner, if our contribution to our suffering brothers in Antioch can help several families there to have food or heat in their shelter, we know that our efforts were not in vain. Together with our prayers, it is the least we can do for them. May we also have their prayers!

We wish all a Merry Christmas and a New Year rich in blessings from our Incarnate Lord Jesus Christ!

Letter on behalf of Metropolitan Joseph:

Dec 6, 2014

His Beatitude
Patriarch of Antioch and All The East

Your Beatitude,

It is the highest honor and blessing for us to greet Your Beatitude in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ upon your visit to the USA.

Your visit here is a joy not only for the faithful from the Antiochian Archdiocese in North America but also for us from the Bulgarian Orthodox Church as well as the many other Orthodox faithful who live here and serve our Lord Jesus Christ and His Church in this country and on this continent.

We are aware of the perils and the difficulties which our brothers and sisters of the Antiochian Patriarchate in the Middle East have been enduring for a long time. Your sufferings have brought us close to each other having pierced our hearts and ignited our prayers. That is why meeting Your Beatitude evokes in us not only joy but also solidarity and deep compassion, especially knowing that Your Beatitude bears the heavy burden of  the murder, dangers, sorrows and needs of your flock, and you are personally afflicted by the kidnapping and the unknown destiny of your brother, Metropolitan Boulos Yazigi of Aleppo.

It is a blessing for us to be together with you and all the faithful from the Antiochian Patriarchate in the Middle East through our prayers as well as through this small contribution of $14,500.00 which the faithful from our Diocese were eager to collect as an expression of our love and support for the suffering Church of Antioch. While assuring you of our continuous support and prayers we also confess that your witness and the witness of the present day martyrs strengthens us and confirms us in our Orthodox faith.

Asking for Your holy prayers for all of us in the Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox Diocese of the USA, Canada and Australia, we faithfully remain your brother in Christ,

Metropolitan of the USA, Canada and Australia

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