In the summer months of 2010, the land of Russia was afflicted by an extraordinary number of wildfires, their number surpassed only by their intensity. More than one-hundred villages were destroyed by the fires, at least 50 people died, and thousands were left homeless.
Out of a sense of love for, and solidarity with, the Russian people, and after a global appeal by His Holiness Patriarch Kirill, the Diocese of Los Angeles, Southern California, and Hawaii made a contribution to the relief effort under the guidance of His Grace Bishop Serapion. As His Holiness Patriarch Kirill wrote in his appeal,
Every one of us, in helping the victims of the fire rage, serves our Lord Jesus Christ Himself. A testimony to this is the Gospel’s word: ‘Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me’ (Mt. 25:40). But helping the homeless victims of fires, each one also serves oneself because any one of us may find oneself in a similar situation when everything perishes and one’s health is undermined and there is no one else to help but God, neighbors and the Church. That is why we cannot help participating most actively in giving aid to those who have been affected and is being affected by fire.
With God’s grace, the Synodal Department for Church Charity had received 3,909 donations, including three thousand from private citizens and sixty-six from dioceses.
The Russian Orthodox Church expressed its thanks to His Grace Bishop Serapion, the Diocese, and her people in a letter from Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, Chairman of the Department of External Church Relations.
We continue to offer our prayers for the victims of Russia’s wildfires and all those who suffer affliction throughout the world.