SCOBA Hierarchs Issue Statement on War in Iraq
April 2, 2003
NEW YORK, NY - We, the hierarchs of the Standing Conference of the Canonical Orthodox
Bishops in the Americas are compelled by our spiritual obligation as
peacemakers, to express the anguish in our hearts that, once again, due to the
presence of sin and evil in the world, nations and people of faith have been
unable to avoid a dreadful confrontation.
As heads of Orthodox Christian communities in North America we are compelled
to call our pious clergy and faithful to pray for peace and for respect of the sanctity of all human persons.
We ask our churches to open their doors during this season of the Great Lent
for people to enter, light a candle, and pray for peace and reconciliation among
We exhort our faithful to pray for all the people who live in areas of
conflict, for the innocent women, children and elderly who live in places of
high risk and harm, for those in flight, for refugees throughout the region who
join others on a journey of profound uncertainty.
We pray for the security and well-being of our military personnel, for
advisors and diplomats, and for families at home, who must live in fear for the
safety of their loved ones.
We pray for our President and all civil authorities, for their discernment
and divine guidance during this difficult time.
This tragic war, combined with the threat to security at home, has created
enormous fear and anxiety throughout the world. Only the Prince of Peace, who
said "My peace I give to you" (Lk 14:27), can allay this fear and anxiety.
Please know, dearly beloved that our humanitarian aid agency, the
International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC), has already prepared itself
to address the tremendous needs that will confront the world in the days ahead.
This response will include the distribution of "survival packs" to persons
fleeing Iraq, provisions of medical assistance to ill or disabled refugees in
Jordan, and the distribution of humanitarian relief within Iraq. We urge you to
help IOCC in this massive philanthropic effort.
May the peace and love of God be with all of you.
With paternal love and blessings,
+Archbishop DEMETRIOS, Chairman Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America
+Metropolitan PHILIP, Vice Chairman Antiochian Orthodox Christian
Archdioceseof North America
+Metropolitan CHRISTOPHER, Secretary Serbian Orthodox Church in the USA and
+Metropolitan NICHOLAS of Amissos, Treasurer Carpatho-Russian Orthodox
Diocese in the USA
+ Bishop ILIA of Philomelion
Albanian Orthodox Diocese of America
+Metropolitan HERMAN Orthodox Church in America
Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese in America and
Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox Church
Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the USA