Saint Porphyrios, Gaza City
The Order was able to speak to our contacts at St. Porphyrios Orthodox Church in Gaza City the day before the end of the ceasefire.
What we were informed of is absolute devastation and destruction. The neighborhood where Saint Porphyrios Orthodox Church is located is 70% destroyed. Approximately 60% of all Orthodox Christian homes are completely leveled to the ground with nothing but a pile of rubble remaining. Our source further told us that they can smell the decomposing bodies of the dead trapped in the rubble of the buildings around them in Gaza.
We were informed again that none of the humanitarian aid that has been allowed to cross into Gaza since the start of the ceasefire on November 24th has made its way to Gaza City and certainly, none of it has reached Saint Porphyrios where 450 people are still seeking refuge including the elderly, infants, and people who have injuries. There are no hospitals open in Gaza City and no way to get treatments for the old, the sick, or the injured. Food is scarce and getting harder to obtain.
Refugees at Saint Porphyrios are still currently eating one main meal a day, scraped together from what they can find. The monastery is still able to make bread to feed them, but for how much longer no one knows. What very few resources there are in Gaza – food, fuel for the generator that powers the well for their dwindling water supply – are being sold by people who are “taking advantage,” said one source. A single can of tuna fish costs the equivalent of $10. Powering the generator alone is over $300 every day. There is a need for blankets, clothes for winter, plastic coverings for the windows, medicine, and non-perishable food.
With the ceasefire ending yesterday, the situation in Gaza and at Saint Porphyrios is only going to get more dire. Yesterday alone, over 175 civilians were killed on the first day of renewed hostilities. The Order is also aware that over 3,000 Palestinians have been detained across the occupied West Bank since the start of the war on October 7th.
The Order remains committed to the community of Saint Porphyrios, to Archbishop Alexios, to the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, and to all the Orthodox Christians who live across the Holy Land and Greater Middle East.
We ask during this Nativity Season that you continue to think of our Christian brothers and sisters in the Holy Land and to faithfully contribute financially to their needs through our fundraising campaign.
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!