SCOBA Encyclical for IOCC Sunday, November 18, 2001

“And I will say to my soul,
‘Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years;
Take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.’
But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you;
then whose will those things be which you have provided?’
So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”
(Luke 12:19-21)

18 November 2001

To the Most Reverend Clergy,
The Most Venerable Monastics and
The Devout Faithful of our Holy Orthodox Churches in the Americas

Dearly Beloved in the Lord:

May the grace and peace of our all-loving Lord be with all of you!

How does one become “rich toward God?” How, indeed, does one gain such favor with God as to become an inheritor of His Heavenly Kingdom?

These questions, and the answers to them, are inherently part of and the purpose of the parable found in today’s Gospel reading about the rich man. The message is clear. Only when we shift the focus of our attention and concern from ourselves to others, do we begin to become rich toward God and discover the path to His Heavenly Kingdom.

For an Orthodox Christian, International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) is a vehicle through which the objective of Jesus’ parable can be realized. In providing humanitarian aid to those in need in under-developed, war-torn and devastated parts of the world, IOCC together with you is responding to the call of Jesus Christ to help those in need and to share our treasure.

IOCC is the growing presence of world Orthodoxy in the never-ending battle against poverty, natural disaster and the ravishes of human conflict. Each of us is invited and encouraged to join this effort by supporting the work of IOCC. In so doing, we become rich toward God because we accept the mandate of Christ to provide for the least of His brethren (Matt. 25:40).

Today, the Sunday before Thanksgiving, is IOCC Sunday in Orthodox Christian parishes throughout the United States. We celebrate the work of IOCC in that it makes manifest the beautiful message of today’s Gospel reading. May God richly bless you, the faithful Orthodox, for embracing and supporting the work of IOCC.

On this occasion, we ask that we join together in spreading the good news to all our Orthodox brethren about this most worthy organization. Let all know that IOCC works directly with those it serves, standing and struggling with them, providing them with sustenance in time of crisis and assistance to develop and enhance their lives. Let all know that IOCC is providing hope to those whose existence has been otherwise rendered hopeless.

May the Lord of Lords and King of Kings enlighten us all to become participants in Christ’s work among His people through the mission of IOCC.

Your fervent intercessors before the Throne of our Lord,

+Archbishop DEMETRIOS, Chairman
Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America

+Metropolitan PHILIP, Vice Chairman
Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America

+Metropolitan JOSEPH, Secretary
Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox Church

+Metropolitan NICHOLAS of Amissos, Treasurer
American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese in the USA

+Metropolitan THEODOSIUS
Orthodox Church in America

+Metropolitan JOSEPH of Western Europe, Locum tenens
Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese in America and Canada

+Metropolitan CHRISTOPHER
Serbian Orthodox Church in the USA and Canada

+Metropolitan CONSTANTINE
Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the USA