<% Dim strHeader strHeader = "Missionary Support" strOptionalText = "The Decani Monastery Relief Fund Foundation and Purpose" Call HtmlHeader(strHeader,strOptionalText) Call HTMLLeft()%> The Decani Monastery Relief Fund Foundation and Purpose
An Appeal on behalf of the Decani Monastery Relief Fund

+Very Rev. Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes,
President of the Decani Monastery Relief Fund USA
2618 W. Bannock Street, Boise ID 83702 USA
Tel: 208-345-6147 Email: father@serfes.org


29 February 2008

An Open Letter to All My Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

Many of you have long been aware of the tragic situation in Kosovo. Perhaps you have already responded to appeals on behalf of the suffering non-combatant Serbian minority still living within that war torn region. For this I most sincerely thank you. For those of you who have not yet become aware of the circumstances and needs of this oppressed and impoverished population, I want to take this opportunity to tell you about them and about the ongoing efforts of the Decani Monastery Relief Fund to address their most basic and urgent needs.

The Decani Monastery Relief Fund (DMRF) was founded in October, 1998 as an entirely non-profit charity. That is, none of the volunteers who collect or distribute donated cash or material goods ever receives so much as a penny for their efforts. I personally oversee and administer the Fund from my church office in Boise, Idaho. All cash donations sent to me are deposited into the Fundís account at a Boise bank and, as soon as possible, are wired from this bank to a bank in Serbia. Monks from the Decani Monastery in Kosovo then withdraw the money and use it to purchase food, clothing, fuel for heating and cooking, and other needed commodities which they then distribute to the scattered remnant of Serbs still living in the mountains and rural areas of Kosovo.

The conditions under which this population lives are almost unimaginable for us who enjoy the comforts and privileges most Americans take for granted. These are people who live under the threat of attack at any time, who often endure hunger and cold and even uncertainty about whether they will still have any shelter to return to at the end of the day. Their children, often without coats or shoes, shiver in unheated classrooms. Entire families depend on the food the Monks deliver and on the two soup kitchens the DMRF also supports.

Besides supplying the soup kitchens, the DMRF also provides shoes, winter clothing, and firewood directly to families with children. I have just been told that the Decani Monastery, through the fund, is now able to distribute shoes to needy children throughout the region on a regular basis. This is a real blessing because Kosovoís winters are harsh and the lack of adequate clothing has been a great ongoing need.

Children in Kosovo attending a local Orthodox funeral
Children in Kosovo attending
a local Orthodox funeral

The DMRF also provides monetary assistance for housing for entire families and medical assistance to address the special needs of the elderly and younger persons who have health concerns. The Fund also supports four schools in the region by providing classroom supplies, wood for heating, and assistance to pay for electricity. Firewood is also purchased for churches, monasteries and convents. We also support the education of war orphans (with a regular scholarship every three months) and children with developmental disabilities in Gracanica. We also donated some computers to impoverished children in a program for the gifted.

All of this aid the Fund offers throughout the region of Kosovo/Metohija on behalf of His Grace, Bishop Teodosije, and in collaboration with the generous and hard working monks of Decani Monastery without whose tireless dedication none of this aid would be possible.

I have personally traveled to Kosovo three times. These visits greatly increased my understanding of the depth of need within the region as they provided me with opportunities to talk to the Serbian residents, to see the children in school, and to witness first hand both the hardships and the courage of these fellow Christians as they struggle to salvage their faith and culture within this fractured and fragmented society.

Please support our continuing efforts to assist in meeting the basic needs of Kosovoís remaining Christian individuals and families. As Godís people, it is not our place to take sides in the political debates or ethnic/cultural conflicts that have torn this region asunder in recent years. But it is our Christian duty to care for and about peopleó men, women and children who are precious in Godís sight, wherever they may live in this world.

Kosovo has become one of the places where people suffer great hardship just to sustain life and their fundamental human right to live according to their own beliefs and customs. As Christians, it is our duty to do whatever we can to uphold that right for all people, as well as to share what material blessings we have (thanks be to God!) with those who have only need.

Your generosity and compassion are much appreciated. Donations are fully tax deductable and may be sent to:

c/o Very Rev. Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes, President
Saints Constantine & Helen Greek Orthodox Church
2618 West Bannock Street
Boise, Idaho 83702

Thank you and God bless you for your gracious love and kindness!

Peace to your soul!

Humbly in Christ our Lord,
+Very Rev. Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes
Father Nektarios Serfes
Telephone Parish Office: 208-345-6147

+ His Grace, Bishop Teodosije
Abbot of the Decani Monastery & First Vice President

+ Hieromonk Father Sava
Second Vice President

Lois Fletcher
Secretary Treasurer

Gioia Maria Frahm
Secretary Treasurer

Who all pray for you!