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Archbishop Elpidophoros on the Balukli Greek Hospital Fire

NEW YORK – On August 4, His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America issued a statement after the fire at the Balukli (Balıklı) Greek Hospital in Constantinople.

His Eminence’s statement follows:

Today, our Church is shaken by a catastrophe: a devastating fire that caused extensive structural damage at the Balıklı Greek Hospital in the Zeytinburnu district of Istanbul. The hospital is a historic building and a vital institution that today cares for our elderly sisters and brothers residing in the city.

We are grateful to our merciful God that no casualties have been reported. We are thankful to the Firefighters who extinguished the flames, the hospital staff, and those who rushed to the scene throughout the city to bring the patients to safety.

I will visit the hospital as soon as I arrive in Istanbul for the third Centennial Pilgrimage, which begins Monday. In the interim, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America prepares to respond to this tragedy. As His All-Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew has noted, “Human lives matter. Buildings, facilities, material things can be restored,” and our Omogeneia will contribute in any way we can to mitigate the material damages that have been suffered so that the Balıklı Greek Hospital can continue its mission caring for the elderly and infirm.

The Philoptochos Society responded to Archbishop Elpidophoros’ statement on the Balukli Greek Hospital fire with the following:

Philoptochos National President Arlene Siavelis Kehl stated: “The National Philoptochos is saddened to hear today’s news of the devastating fire at Balukli, a Patriarchal Ministry which we have supported for decades. It is particularly poignant for us since the Philoptochos has visited Balukli during each of our pilgrimages. Our love for the institution is profound and we stand ready to assist His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros in any way we can to address the damage that occurred. We are thankful to Our Lord that all were safely evacuated, and there were no injuries.”

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CONSTANTINOPLE - His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros visited the Balikli Greek Hospital today following last week’s devastating fire and had the opportunity to hear from staff and residents about their experiences during the ordeal.

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