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Topeka church organizes efforts to help house church in Turkey after earthquakes

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) – A church in Topeka is helping out halfway around the world after its home church in Turkey was flattened by recent earthquakes.

Father Nikolai Meyers, the pastor of the Orthodox Church of Saints Peter and Paul, tells 13 NEWS that his church is part of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch, the modern Turkish city of Antakya, where Peter and Paul visited in the book of Acts , where it was first called Christians.

Father Meyers said the ancient city was largely destroyed due to recent earthquakes in the area. He said their cathedral was razed to the ground but will be rebuilt.

Meyers noted that his church includes the area of ​​recent earthquakes that devastated southern Turkey and northern Syria. Because his parishioners are directly connected to the area, he said the congregation is hard at work with recovery efforts.

According to Fr. Meyers, the humanitarian teams of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch have been providing food, clothing, temporary shelter, counseling, hygiene kits, diapers, medicines and medical supplies and have not stopped since the earth stopped shaking. A delegation is also coordinating a wider relief effort in Turkey.

On a national scale, Meyers noted that the US Treasury Department suspended sanctions against Syria that cleared all earthquake relief transactions that would otherwise have been stalled for 180 days.

The father indicated that the North American Archdiocese of Antioch has also already raised more than $692,000 for relief efforts in the area. Every dollar raised will reach humanitarian teams on the ground without transactional delays, of which $250 has already been sent to churches in Syria and Turkey.

Locally, Meyers said his congregation has raised more than $2,600 and will continue to raise funds throughout the month of February. He said 100% of the funds will be sent to churches in Syria and Turkey for immediate help. One is also one of the few organizations in northern Syria that will offer aid to those affected by the earthquakes.

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