OPEN LETTER TO THE CHURCH: THE HUMANITARIAN CRISIS AT THE US-MEXICO BORDER

To sign this letter send an email to editors@orthodoxyindialogue.com with your full name and city, state/province, and country of residence. You need not be Orthodox or reside in the United States to sign. Clergy are asked to designate their ecclesiastical title, e.g., Protopresbyter, Archpriest, Priest, Hieromonk, Protodeacon, Arehdeacon, Deacon, etc., as well as the jurisdiction to which they are attached.
Please share this letter widely with all your social media contacts.
If you support the work that we do, please consider becoming a Patron of Orthodoxy in Dialogue.

immchild

To the God-Fearing Episcopate, Presbyterate, Diaconate, Monastics, and Laity of the Holy Orthodox Church in the United States of America, faithful servants of the Gospel of our Lord, God, and Saviour Jesus Christ: 

We, the undersigned, feel now more than ever that the time has come for our Holy Church to speak and act urgently as one body possessing one mind. Thus may our very deeds confess and glorify the Holy, Consubstantial, Life-Creating and Undivided Trinity unto ages of ages.

The crimes against humanity perpetrated by the US government—on US soil, against fellow Christians, babies and children, mothers and fathers—cry out to heaven for redress. If we, who are the very body of Christ, fail to speak as His mouth and act as His hands and His feet, we face a harsh day of reckoning at His Dread Judgment Seat, as He Himself assures us:

For I was hungry, and you fed me not.

I was thirsty, and you gave me not to drink.

I was a foreigner, and you welcomed me not.

I was naked, and you clothed me not.

I was sick, in prison, a child locked in a cage, not knowing where my mother and father were…and you did nothing. 

On such a fundamental issue as this there can be neither left nor right, neither liberalism nor conservatism, but solely Christ and His Gospel.

We strongly urge the following and similar immediate actions:

  • Letters to the White House, to members of the Senate and the House of Representatives, and to border state governors from the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America; from the senior hierarch of each individual jurisdiction represented in the Assembly; from each diocesan bishop within each jurisdiction; and from each parish priest within each diocese. Orthodoxy in Dialogue stands prepared to publish all episcopal letters and a few from parish priests.

  • Letters, emails, phone calls, and faxes to all of the above from the laity of our Church.

  • The direct involvement of International Orthodox Christian Charities to alleviate the suffering along the border.

  • On-site visits to detention centres by bishops, priests, deacons, and monastics in their cassocks and riassas, by representatives of IOCC, and by the laity. Hierarchs, clergy, and monastics should ensure a media presence when they visit. Orthodoxy in Dialogue stands prepared to publish reports of these visits.

  • Acts of civil disobedience by hierarchs, clergy, monastics, and laity as a form of protest.

  • Material and monetary aid in ways great and small for the refugees.

  • Untiring preaching on the crisis in all of our churches.

  • Special petitions in the Augmented Litany or special moliebens/prayer services.

  • Ceaseless prayer for the refugees, for all those in civil authority, and for all those ministering to and sinning against the least and the smallest of Christ’s brothers and sisters.

Many other churches, religious groups, and humanitarian agencies are leading the way where the Orthodox Church should have already established a visible presence and activity. Yet our merciful Lord welcomes the last as the first, the one who comes at the eleventh hour as the one who comes at the first hour. Let us without delay humble ourselves, repent of our inaction, and follow our betters into the fiery furnace to meet Christ face to face in the terror-stricken children and in their suffering mothers and fathers.

With love in Christ, your unworthy brothers and sisters,

  1. Archbishop Lazar (Puhalo), Orthodox Church in America (Dewdney, British Columbia)
  2. Archimandrite Christopher (Calin), Orthodox Church in America (New York, New York)
  3. Archpriest Robert M. Arida, Orthodox Church in America (Boston, Massachusetts)
  4. Archpriest George Morelli, Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese (La Costa, California)
  5. Archpriest Michael Plekon, Orthodox Church in America (Holmes, New York)
  6. Archpriest Isaac Skidmore, Orthodox Church in America (Ashland, Oregon)
  7. Priest Kevin Greenwood, American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese (Columbus, Ohio)
  8. Susan K. Arida (Boston, Massachusetts)
  9. Jeanne Berggreen Plekon (Holmes, New York)
  10. Priest James K. Graham, Melkite-Greek Catholic Eparchy of Newton (Lansing, Michigan)
  11. Rev. John B. Edmonds, Episcopal Church (Blue Hill, Maine)
  12. Mar Melchizedek (Lincoln, Nebraska)
  13. Metropolitan Archbishop Paul Waibel, Orthodox-Catholic Church of America (Lexington, Kentucky)
  14. Bishop Stephen F. Duncan, Orthodox-Catholic Church of America (Galveston, Texas)
  15. Bishop Anthony Kubiak, Orthodox-Catholic Church of America (Ellisville, Missouri)
  16. Bishop John F. Newbauer, Orthodox-Catholic Church of America (Fort Wayne, Indiana)
  17. Bishop Elizabeth Walker, Orthodox-Catholic Church of America (New York, New York)
  18. Priest James Brigl, Orthodox-Catholic Church of America (Fort Wayne, Indiana)
  19. Priest Laura Starre Emerson, Orthodox-Catholic Church of America (Spring Hill, Florida)
  20. Priest Sean Andrew Lotz, CCG, Celtic Catholic Church (Shelton, Washington)
  21. Priest David-Matthias Moore, Orthodox-Catholic Church of America (Greenville, South Carolina)
  22. Archpriest Clifford J. Polubinsky, Orthodox-Catholic Church of America (Fort Wayne, Indiana)
  23. Rev. Scott A. Williams, Free Methodist Church (Azusa, California)
  24. Deacon William E. Riley, Progressive Catholic Church (Cliffside Park, New Jersey)
  25. Giacomo Sanfilippo, Editor, Orthodoxy in Dialogue (Toronto, Ontario)
  26. Inga Leonova, Editor, The Wheel (Boston, Massachusetts)
  27. Boris Jakim (Port Washington, New York)
  28. Andrew Klager, Director, Institute for Religion, Peace and Justice, St. Stephen’s University (Chilliwack, British Columbia)
  29. Judy Quitoriano, Adjunct Professor, Meister Eckhart Seminary (Lincoln, Nebraska)
  30. Grant White, Assistant Professor, St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary (Turku, Finland)
  31. Jim Forest (Alkmaar, The Netherlands)
  32. Nancy Forest (Alkmaar, The Netherlands)
  33. Alexander Patico, Former Secretary for North America, Orthodox Peace Fellowship (Columbia, Maryland)
  34. Esther Robinson (Fond du Lac, Wisconsin)
  35. James A. Bouse (Detroit, Michigan)
  36. Anastasia Dunlop Black (Somerville, Massachusetts)
  37. Igor Reznikovsky (Brooklyn, New York)
  38. P. Joshua Hatala (Troy, New York)
  39. Michael P. Beck (Baltimore, Maryland)
  40. Frank Zaveral (Parker, Colorado)
  41. Stephanie Zaveral (Parker, Colorado)
  42. Jefferson M. Steen (Burlington, North Carolina)
  43. Liz Fallin (Bothell, Washington)
  44. Chris Addis (Cambridge, Massachusetts)
  45. Stephen D. Montgomery (Wilton Manors, Florida)
  46. Charlotte Riggle (Sumner, Washington)
  47. Kira Miller (Tacoma, Washington)
  48. Jean L. Murphy (Port Townsend, Washington)
  49. David J. Marchant (Vancouver, British Columbia)
  50. Scott Marckx (Port Townsend, Washington)
  51. Eric Simpson (Phoenix, Oregon)
  52. Bruce G. Anderson (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan)
  53. James Chater (Avallon, France)
  54. Scott Cairns (Tacoma, Washington)
  55. Marcia Vanderlip (Tacoma, Washington)
  56. Jared Warren (New York, New York)
  57. James Wilcox (New York, New York)
  58. Brooke Wilcox (New York, New York)
  59. Henry C. Antony Karlson III (Indianapolis, Indiana)
  60. Thomas Snowdon (St-Joseph-de-Kent, New Brunswick)
  61. Justin Hertwig (Moosonee, Ontario)
  62. Paul Pynkoski (Toronto, Ontario)
  63. Tania Natale (Toronto, Ontario)
  64. Volkert Volkersz (Peterborough, New Hampshire)
  65. Lora Crighton (Toronto, Ontario)
  66. Susan Anderson (Livermore, California)
  67. Carolyn Mackie (Toronto, Ontario)
  68. Kathleen George (Gloucester, Massachusetts)
  69. Carol LeMasters (Columbus, Ohio)
  70. Andrew Fedosov (Toronto, Ontario)
  71. Brad Jersak (Abbotsford, British Columbia)
  72. Constantine Wright (Athens, Georgia)
  73. Vicki James-Miller (New Albany, Ohio)
  74. Lydia Bringerud (San Diego, California)
  75. Priscilla J. Callos (Burlington, Vermont)
  76. Bruce Gottfried (Yonkers, New York)
  77. Juli Tarsney (St. Louis Park, Minnesota) 
  78. John Hart (Denver, Colorado)
  79. Eline Post-Kuiper (Rhenen, The Netherlands)
  80. Barbara Comstock (Castro Valley, California)
  81. Wendy A. Jorgensen (Columbus, Ohio)
  82. Jonathan Jones (Benson, North Carolina)
  83. Diane Beck (Ojo Caliente, New Mexico)
  84. Charles Beck (Ojo Caliente, New Mexico)
  85. Andrea Goodell (Holland, Michigan)
  86. Rachel Karslake (Lansing, Michigan)
  87. Spiridon Gilbert Gamboa (San Francisco, California)
  88. Donna M. Gehlmann (Scarsdale, New York)
  89. Gerard S. Zabik (Niantic, Connecticut) 
  90. Eileen Chanti (Eugene, Oregon)
  91. Beth Johnson (Davenport, Iowa)
  92. Rose Ruggieri (Urbandale, Iowa)
  93. John Carter (Wichita, Kansas)
  94. Rick Zajac (Garden City, Michigan)
  95. Charles Compston (Winnipeg, Manitoba)
  96. Elizabeth Whisler (LeClaire, Iowa)
  97. Geoffrey Deacon (Oakland, California)
  98. Tita Deacon (Oakland, California)
  99. Shafi Thomas (Albany, New York)
  100. Pauline Costianes (Westland, Michigan)
  101. Michael Pickel (Brunswick, Maine)
  102. Stacy Keene (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)
  103. Larry Topping (Elizabethtown, Kentucky)
  104. Mary Bernardelli (Toronto, Ontario)
  105. Katherine Boardman (Brookline, Massachusetts) 
  106. Alexandra Nowak (Columbus, Ohio)
  107. Dejan Nikolic (Leiderdorp, The Netherlands)
  108. Kim Mitch (Eugene, Oregon)
  109. Donald L. Wescott (Canton, Ohio)
  110. Linda Jane Karounos (Toronto, Ontario)
  111. David Jenkins (Coventry, England)
  112. Jennifer Jenkins (Coventry, England)
  113. Tracy Thallas (Gillette, Wyoming)
  114. Steven Thomas Callen (St. Louis, Missouri)
  115. Rebecca Carter Matrescu (Detroit, Michigan)