What does it profit, my brethren, if a man says he has faith but has not works? Can his faith save him? If a brother or sister is ill-clad and in lack of daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and filled,’ without giving them the things needed for the body, what does it profit? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead (James 2:14-17).
Responding to the devastating effects of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, Bishop Irinej calls upon all clergy, monastics and faithful of the Diocese of Eastern America, and all people of good will to fervently pray the Lord strengthen those adversely affected by these natural disasters and to deliver them safely from harm and danger. May He who is the Life and Resurrection grant rest eternal to those who lost their lives and comfort their families and friends. Already Hurricane Harvey has decimated parts of Texas and continues to ravage neighboring states, causing unprecedented destruction and trauma, coupled with loss of life and livelihood. Hurricane Irma has torn through the Caribbean, leaving many island nations without electricity, water or food. Now in its wake, unprecedented burglary is rampant. Hurricane Irma is headed for Florida, which is preparing itself for this potentially catastrophic storm. We are all called not only to pray, but also to share in the burden of our brothers and sisters by expressing solidarity and concern, while offering care. As Bishop of Eastern America, I would like to publically express our collective appreciation to the Orthodox Serbs of Martinique who have prepared a boatload of food and clothing to assist our faithful on the islands of St Martin, St Barthélemy and Guadeloupe. As Orthodox Christians we are all called to pray that God strengthens those in the path of devastation. Our prayers, however, should be accompanied by tangible aid to those now in dire distress and need. We ask our clergy, monastics and faithful to contribute their donations directly to IOCC, International Orthodox Christian Charities, an agency under the aegis of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America, and have offered the assistance of their emergency task force to anyone in need. All clergy are instructed to call IOCC toll free: 877.803.4622, to help those who are afflicted.