Orthodox Christians Gather at White House to Discuss Social Service

(Photo Credit: Orthodox Church in America.)Representatives of Orthodox Christian groups in the United States pose for a group photo at the White House in Washington, D.C. on December 14, 2012. Participants attended the White House Conference on Orthodox Christian Engagement

Representatives of Orthodox Christian Organizations gathered at the White House recently to discuss ways to work with the federal government on efforts like social outreach, disaster response and community development.

The half-day gathering is called The White House Conference on Orthodox Christian Engagement and was hosted by the White House Office of Public Engagement in conjunction with the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships and facilitated by International Orthodox Christian Charities.

The meeting was "an important way to build understanding between our communities and toward serving needs here in the United States," said Michael S. Homsey, chair of the IOCC.

"The conference is an important step toward uniting the efforts of Orthodox Christians to effectively serve their communities and builds on similar service IOCC has provided in more than 50 countries around the world over the past twenty years," he added.

A spokesman for the White House said the Orthodox Christian Community "plays a critical role in social outreach, disaster response, and community development.

The conference provided a forum for dialogue on that outreach and areas for mutual cooperation, said D. Paul Monteiro, Associate Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement.

A partial list of those in attendance, according to the Orthodox Church in America, were:

Archpriest Eric G. Tosi, Orthodox Church in America; His Eminence, Archbishop Nicolae of the Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese in the Americas and liaison to IOCC from the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America; His Grace, Bishop Gregorios of Nyssa of the Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese; His Grace, Bishop Sevastianos of Zela, Chief Secretary of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese Eparchial Synod, representing His Eminence, Archbishop Demetrios of America, a member of the Presidential Commission for Faith-Based Organizations; IOCC Chairperson Michael S. "Mickey" Homsey; numerous IOCC board and staff members; and other clergy and lay representatives engaged in outreach ministries.

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