As head of the Order, I am writing to you now, at 5 minutes past the beginning of the ceasefire in Gaza which is supposed to last until November 28th.

The Order is praying for the safety of all on the ground, we are praying for peace, and we are praying that the ceasefire will hold indefinitely.

Whether this ceasefire lasts for just days, for years, or for generations we are, right now, working as quickly as we can to get resources to the community of Saint Porphyrios Orthodox Church as we have promised Archbishop Alexios and Church leadership that we would do.

As reported earlier, there is a desperate and immediate need for assistance as close to 450 people are seeking shelter in this ancient Christian Church. Of those taking refuge 170 are women and 120 are children. Food is extremely scarce and getting harder to obtain as the days and weeks pass by due to the military blockade of Gaza.

Refugees are eating one main meal a day, scraped together from whatever can be found in the kitchens of the monastery. Breakfast consists of bread, biscuits, and water. Archbishop Alexios has told us that at least 70% of the neighborhood they are in is completely destroyed. By his count, at least 250 of the homes of those sheltering in the church have been leveled to the ground. He said that none of the humanitarian aid that has been recently allowed to cross the border into Gaza has reached North Gaza and certainly, none of it has reached St. Porphyrios Orthodox Church.

Dear reader, as a reminder, the church is sheltering infants, children, elderly people, and those who have been injured. There are no more hospitals open in Gaza and therefore no way to get treatments for the old, the sick, the injured, and babies. Evacuating south as suggested by the IDF is not an option these people trust as the evacuation routes have also been regularly bombed. The people are in fear that this ceasefire will not be fully enforced or held.

We must not stop supporting this community just because there is a four-day ceasefire. Plenty still needs to be achieved with respect to assistance for them beyond just money. The Order remains committed to the community of Saint Porphyrios, to Archbishop Alexios personally, to the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, and to all the Orthodox Christians who live across the Holy Land and Greater Middle East.

We ask that you continue to faithfully contribute to their needs.

O Lord of Hosts, be with us, for we have no other help in times of adversity than Thee.

O Lord of Hosts have mercy on us!

Through the prayers of St. Porphyrios of Gaza and St. George the Great Martyr and Victory-Bearer, May Christ our God have mercy on all of us!

Konstantine Pandolfi E.M.

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