As Orthodox Christians, our response to unimaginable suffering is clear: first to pray, and then to offer assistance as one is able. It is with this thought in mind that His Eminence, Metropolitan Iakovos, has instructed the clergy of the Metropolis of Chicago regarding the recent catastrophic events which struck the nation of Japan. Regarding prayer, His Eminence has given his blessing to include an additional petition (for the duration of Great Lent) at the divine services for our Japanese brothers and sisters who are now suffering loss and the disorientation of a destroyed landscape. Regarding the giving of assistance, His Eminence has instructed the clergy to encourage the faithful of our parishes to assist the Japanese people through authorized organizations, such as IOCC, who are properly equipped to provide aid in such situations.
The words of the blessed Saint John of Kronstadt seem most appropriate for our consideration:
"O, holy temple, how good, how sweet it is to pray in thee! For where can there be ardent prayer if not within thy walls, before the throne of God, and before the face of Him Who sitteth upon it? Truly the soul melts from prayerful emotion, and tears flow down the cheeks like water. It is sweet to pray for all."
"For as the poor and suffering compel us to compassion, so let us mutually compel ourselves to almsgiving; let us compel ourselves to good works, whilst there is yet time…"
His Eminence's entire directive can be read by clicking the image below.