4th of June 2024

As the leadership of the Order prepares for a historic journey to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and to the Holy Land, we are deeply troubled with the continued recurring loss of communication with both the Greek Orthodox Church of Saint Porphyrios and the Latin Church of the Holy Family. These disruptions arise from telecommunication blackouts made by the Israeli Defense Forces amidst the ongoing war in Gaza.

Prior to this recent loss of communication, distressing reports have emerged detailing the dire humanitarian situation unfolding in Gaza. According to data from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), over 70% of Gaza’s population is facing food insecurity, with nearly half of the population classified as food insecure. The blockade imposed by Israeli authorities has severely restricted the entry of essential goods, exacerbating an already precarious situation.

Moreover, recent assessments conducted by humanitarian organizations on the ground have revealed alarming statistics regarding malnutrition rates among children. According to the World Food Program (WFP), approximately 40% of children under the age of five in Gaza are suffering from malnutrition, a situation that demands urgent attention and intervention.

Tragically, the escalating violence and blockade have resulted in a devastating loss of life. According to figures from the Palestinian Ministry of Health (West Bank) and the United Nations, tens of thousands of civilians, including women and children, have lost their lives since the war began. In simple numbers, 36,439 people have lost their lives, including over 15,000 children. Additionally, 82,627 people have been severely injured with no access to medical facilities. Over 10,000 civilians are unaccounted for and feared dead. The indiscriminate nature of the violence and the lack of access to medical care have compounded the suffering of the civilian population, leading to needless loss and tragedy.

The international community and we in the Order must act swiftly to address the humanitarian crisis in Gaza and ensure the protection of all civilian lives. Urgent measures are needed to lift the blockade, facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid, and bring an end to the cycle of violence and suffering endured by the Palestinian people in Gaza.

The Holy Orthodox Order of Saint George the Great Martyr is the only authorized International Non-Governmental Organization blessed to raise funds for the Orthodox Christians of Gaza. This is per the direct and public blessing of His Eminence Archbishop Alexios of Tiberias, the ruling Orthodox hierarch in Gaza.

In the coming weeks, the Grand Knight of the Order will hold official meetings with influential religious and civil leaders in the Middle East and Holy Land. The goal of these discussions is to devise a long-term strategy for the Order to provide consistent support to Arab Orthodox Christians in the region. These efforts will concentrate on understanding the community’s needs, addressing their challenges, and establishing a solid foundation for sustained assistance to ensure their continued prosperity and stability.

The Order remains committed to the community of Saint Porphyrios, to Archbishop Alexios of Tiberias, to the Christians of Gaza, to the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem, and to all the Orthodox Christians who live and breathe across the Holy Land and Greater Middle East.

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