The Department of Ecumenical Relations and Development (DERD) is a nonprofit organization belonging to the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East. DERD operates from the Patriarchate located in the old city of Damascus.
In 1986, the Patriarchate formed a department to strongly focus on fundraising and development activities to finance several Patriarchal community projects. His Beatitude Patriarch Ignatius IV Patriarch of Antioch and all the East requested Engineer Samer Laham to be in charge of this department according to his post at that time as the Ecumenical Officer of the Antiochian Patriarchate in the World Council of Churches, and as the Church’s representative in the Resource Sharing Group – Middle East desk at the World Council of Churches, whose mission is to meet the needs of different churches in the Middle East.
Due to increasing community demands and charitable projects at the Patriarchate and many other Antiochian Bishoprics, His Beatitude Ignatius IV officially established the Department under regulation No:423 in 1999, with the name “Department of Ecumenical Relations and Development, DERD .” The Department is directly under the Patriarch and enjoys an administrative and financial autonomous status. It performs services according to specific action plans and approved budgets. An independent audit firm monitors DERD with international standards.
DERD is the humanitarian and development arm of the Patriarchate.
DERD has partnered with organizations from all over the world which has contributed in developing the Department’s performance since its establishment.
DERD impartially offers services to all people regardless of faith affiliation.