The Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East responded to an appeal from His Beatitude Patriarch John X to help affected families in Syria
A team from the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East conducted a rapid assessment to provide emergency response. After working with local emergency management authorities, the patriarchate began distributing relief materials—including food kits, winterization, mattresses, and blankets—in Aleppo, Hama, and Lattakia, trying to secure a safe haven for those who lost their homes.
His Beatitude Patriarch John X, Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, made an appeal to their Eminences Metropolitans of the Antiochian See, saying: “This unprecedented earthquake caused great damage to lives and bodies,” adding that the earthquake affected homes in Alexandretta, Mersin, and Antioch.
“We ask you to raise prayers for the comfort of the souls of the dead, the healing of the wounded, and the relief of the afflicted and the homeless who have no roof to shelter them,” said Patriarch John X. “We also ask your brothers, pending an inventory of the damages and the organization of relief work, to take the initiative to take steps within your archdioceses that express our love and solidarity with our suffering brothers in this dear part of our Antiochian See.”
The Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem prayed for the souls of the victims, the wounded, and the affected. "We pray for the quick recovery of all those who were injured, asking Almighty God to comfort them and their loved ones, and to give them strength in these difficult times,” reads the prayer.
Rev. Francesco Patton, the Jerusalem-based Custos of the Holy Land, says he will open all of the church’s buildings in northern Syria to provide shelter for families who have lost their homes.
His office, the Custodia Terrae Sanctae, says the properties can shelter hundreds of people and provide food and medical care for thousands.
Pope Francis, in a public statement, expressed sadness at the huge loss of life, sending telegrams to the apostolic nuncios of Turkey and Syria.
The Pope entrusted “those who died to the loving mercy of the Almighty” and sent his “heartfelt condolences to those who mourn their loss.”
ACT Alliance has been in touch with all of its members in the area and received an initial response from one involved in early relief and assessment work in the Syrian communities of Aleppo, Hama, and Latakia.
A United Church of Christ delegation in Europe has been in touch with partners in the affected region.
“We were awakened to the news of another tragedy in the global community,” said associate minister Karen Georgia Thompson. “The death toll continues to climb in a region that is already vulnerable as a result of the more than decade long war in Syria.
“We are already receiving preliminary reports from partners in the humanitarian community as they launch needs assessments and mobilize relief. We will collaborate with them as requests are received to support the response to this natural disaster.”
The Baptist World Alliance reported that Baptists met to plan ministries in response, while Hungarian Baptist Aid mobilized a team to assist with relief efforts and the Baptist World Alliance called on Christians globally to pray.
“Baptist church leaders in Turkey are gathering in Izmir to mobilize response efforts, and leaders in Lebanon are working with Syrian Baptists to respond to needs in the communities impacted,” the Baptist World Alliance reported online.
The Baptist church in Aleppo has sustained significant damage, and Baptist World Aid is working in collaboration with the European Baptist Federation to ascertain details regarding current needs.
Following the devastating earthquake, His Holiness Catholicos Aram I, WCC president from Oriental Orthodox churches, remained in constant contact with the spiritual and lay leadership of the Armenian community in Syria to closely follow the aftermath and updates. According to the latest update, the Armenian community in Aleppo has 4 casualties. It also bears the most substantial structural damage, while Latakia and Kessab suffer relatively mild damage.
The local Armenian leadership has set up seven shelters for those in need of refuge. On behalf of the Armenian Catholicosate, financial assistance has been allocated to procure food for the sheltered families.
Hundreds are still believed to be trapped under the rubble and the death toll is expected to rise as rescue workers search mounds of wreckage in cities and towns across the area.
Heads of churches in Syria called for lifting the embargo on the Syrian people. “We, the three patriarchs with the heads of churches in Syria, demand from the United Nations and the countries imposing sanctions on Syria to lift the embargo and the unjust sanctions imposed on the Syrian people, and to take exceptional measures and immediate initiatives to secure the delivery of the much needed relief and humanitarian aid,” the statement reads. “We also appeal to the conscience of all the people of good will to advocate on behalf of the Syrian in order to put an end to their misery and enable them to live in dignity as envisioned by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”
H.H. Moran Mor Ignatius Aphrem II, Patriarch of Antioch and all the East, has been touring Aleppo, where churches, hospitals, buildings, and homes for elderly have all sustained serious damage. At his instruction, the Scouts in Damascus are packing items for delivery to to all who need them in Aleppo.