Gaza City, Palestine
For Immediate Release:
To our members, donors, supporters, and followers:
On Thursday, the Order of Saint George the Great Martyr, like so many of you, was surprised to learn that the aid delivered to Saint Porphyrios Orthodox Church did not take place as reported both by us and by various Christian and Jordanian media outlets. For clarity, as head of the Order, I feel it is important to give you a glimpse into the events as they unfolded, and what we know to be true as of today.
On Christmas morning (western calendar), the Order received information from two of our sources in Jordan that His Majesty King Abdulla II ibn Al Hussein had issued a Royal command to his air force to assist the Church of Saint Porphyrios in Gaza, due to its dire humanitarian needs. This special mission occurred four days after His Majesty pledged in front of religious leaders from Jerusalem that he would send aid to the Churches in Gaza. The pledge took place at the Al Husseiniya Palace in Amman on December 20th.
The Order and I had no reason to doubt the authenticity or accuracy of the information provided to us by our contacts, nor the public statement made by the Royal Jordanian Armed Forces regarding the aid it delivered to Saint Porphyrios. The truth about what happened to the aid is someplace in the middle. I promised to you that the Order will continue to report what we know as it becomes available, and today we have some clarity on this matter.
Yesterday the Order for a very brief moment heard from the Secretary of His Eminence Archbishop Alexios. The Secretary informed us that the Royal Jordanian Air Force flew over Saint Porphyrios on the night of December 24th (with Israeli military permission) and airdropped humanitarian aid intended for them and the several hundred people seeking shelter within its ancient walls. The aid, however, when parachuted, drifted and missed its intended target. Instead, it landed in an Islamic Cemetery close to the Roman Catholic Church of the Holy Family. People from the Catholic Church took possession of the aid and its contents. The Secretary of Archbishop Alexios did not elaborate or give any indication of whether this humanitarian aid would be shared between the two Christian communities. In short, aid from the Kingdom of Jordan was sent to Saint Porphyrios however, it was not successfully received by them.
The Order was further told by His Eminance’s Secretary that from their vantage point, 90% of Gaza City is fully destroyed, including all the buildings around them. Those civilians who remain outside the Church compound are in very desperate conditions and are resorting to primal instincts.
Lastly, the Secretary to Archbishop Alexios wanted to extend to us the apostolic blessings of His Eminence and to thank us for all the good work the Order is doing on their behalf in Gaza. Archbishop Alexios and those within the Church of Saint Porphyrios have deep gratitude that we have not forgotten nor abandoned them in their time of need.
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.
As head of the Order, I ask that you please continue in your support of our Christian brothers and sisters in the Holy Land, faithfully contributing financially to their needs through our fundraising campaign. Together, we do make a difference! The Order will not stop raising funds for them until their homes, schools, and communities are restored. We will continue to do everything we can until they are all safe.
~Konstantine Pandolfi E.M