We live in a time when man has the opportunity to solve all his problems. However, the world community is now faced with tragic social and personal obstacles, a crisis that is economic, moral and spiritual. Our country in the past three years has been plagued by an unprecedented economic crisis that has caused uncertainty, insecurity and fear in people: A crisis that is social and economic, but at its core deeply spiritual. Human rights which were taken for granted are abolished daily, secular achievements are violently overturned, principles and values are questioned, all of these causing radical upheavals in our society. Our country is oppressed, making us feel that we are under occupation and prisoners of our lenders. Our leaders did not serve the interests of the people but became solely interested in the possession of power. We as a people acted irresponsibly, recently experienced a false sense of well-being, indulged in easy profit, and claimed rights at the expense of our fellows while indifferent for social cohesion. Without realizing it we lived and witnessed a tragedy: interested in the present we lost the real meaning of life. We surrendered to consumption, tolerated corruption, unconcerned for the future that we were preparing for our children. We continue to recognize and acknowledge our responsibilities. We do not believe that this crisis that afflicts our country will be solved through loans, memorandums and international advisors. It is known that an intellectual crisis gives birth to and recreates other crises. It is very important to try to rescue the people through the ideals of humanism and of the Christian faith and tradition.
Even though the Church has as its primary purpose to lead man to God, in her historic course has not been indifferent to the problems of society. Each time she fought for the recovery and the dignity of human beings and walked hand in hand with their demands and needs. The Church always exists and acts in the world for the world, fighting injustice and lawlessness. Acting not only as a healer for the mentally ill, but also harbouring the hungry, the needy, the economically disadvantaged, caring for the helpless, offering hope to the desperate and embracing society as a whole. The Church wants to give young people perspective and draw them away from the various dependencies. She strives to eliminate poverty, insecurity, unemployment, every form of slavery and degradation, with a speech that is prophetic, modern, youthful and liberating. The Church is the only organization that continually stands next to man with practices that meet the physical needs of people without ethnic, racial or religious discrimination. Each parish is doing work that is analogous to the needs of its people. Offering food, medicine, aid and care, the Church cultivates voluntary and economic contribution, in a manner similar to that of the first Christian communities. Our people have gone through poverty and misery before, but emerged victorious through the spirit of love. In the same spirit, as one body, as a family united in seeking meaningful life in love, that’s how we believe that we will come out from the present difficult situation. To transform hopelessness, despair, insecurity, and uncertainty, into hope, confidence, courage, vision, industriousness, solidarity and cooperation. To tear down the modern Babel and restore communication with God and our fellow human beings. To create a new world, to rebuild a true “Kingdom of God”.
In my parish there are people, both locals and immigrants from different countries, that have physical needs (food, clothes, medicines, etc), and others who need human sympathy to survive (assistance to daily cleanliness, someone to give them their medicines, psychological support). Until now a large part of these needs were covered by the parish or through the help of private institutions or public institutions with financing from the state. Lately with the new measures introduced by the Greek state, the criteria for funding were made much more stringent and the numbers of recipients were restricted, essentially leaving people that cannot survive without help to fend for themselves. Any form of assistance whether in terms of items or money can help to relieve these people. We owe People in Need a debt of gratitude and will pray for all for as long as we breathe.
Father Michael Vlavogilakis, I am the priest of the parish of Kalyves, director of the public institution “Agia Sofia” that is responsible for 130 people living in the area of Apokoronas.