BURBANK — The Executive Committee of the Syrian Armenian Relief Fund (SARF) provided an opportunity to the public to learn about the situation facing the Syrian Armenians by taking advantage of visits by Bishop Armash Nalbandian from Damascus and Dr. Krikor Adanalian from Aleppo. The lecture was held on February 10, 2014, at the Western Diocese Kalaydjian Hall in Burbank, California.
The event, emceed by Executive Committee Secretary Sona Madarian, started with a slide show depicting the deteriorating living conditions of the Armenian community due to the ongoing destruction in Aleppo. The background music “Der Vogormia” (God Beseech Us) set the somber mood.
Dr. Krikor Adanalian from Aleppo presented an analytical evaluation of the history of the ancient Armenian community in Syria, the role of politics in the ongoing chaotic situation and the socio-economic hardships being endured by the community. He praised the unity, perseverance, and resilience of the Armenian community under the capable and bold leadership of the Prelate, Archbishop Shahan Sarkissian. Dr. Adanalian praised the Diaspora communities for extending a hand and concluded his message with optimism for the future.
The Primate of the Armenian Church Diocese of Damascus, Bishop Armash Nalbandian gave a general overview of the current situation and the medical, educational, and financial assistance being provided by Armenian churches, political parties, and humanitarian organizations working together through the Syrian Armenian Committee for Urgent Relief and Rehabilitation, which disperses the assistance received from the Diaspora in an integrated fashion. His Grace reported the number of Armenian casualties, injuries, and damage to churches and national institutions, in addition to thanking the Diaspora communities for their support. Bishop Nalbandian had accompanied leaders of Catholic, Coptic and Syriac Churches to Washington DC, where he met with US Senators to discuss the crisis faced by Christian minorities in Syria.
SARF Executive Committee Chairperson Zaven Khanjian called on the Armenian people to collectively continue their assistance and aid to Syrian Armenians, to sustain the survival of the “Mother Diaspora” community.
Prelate Archbp. Moushegh Mardirossian thanked the organizing committee and commended the keynote speakers. Recalling his recent visit to Lebanon to meetings at the Catholicosate presided over by His Holiness Aram I, the Prelate noted that great emphasis was given to the crisis in Syria and that meeting participants directly communicated with Arch. Shahan Sarkissian, Prelate of Aleppo, to receive first hand information on the situation. The Prelate stated that after hearing the reports of the evening’s speakers, and witnessing the Syrian-Armenian community’s spirit of determination and strong faith, “we leave here hopeful and renewed in our commitment to continue our ongoing support.”
Diocesan Primate Archbp. Hovnan Derderian, who had envisioned the program and graciously provided the facilities for the event, called upon the faithful to act according to the teachings of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and to extend a helping hand to Armenians in dire need. “Let us heed to our sacred Christian values and give to those who seek food and shelter,” said His Eminence. “Let our Christian spirit be reflected through our generosity,” he added.
The clergy, which included representatives of the Minister to the Union, Rev. Joseph D. Matossian of the Armenian Evangelical Union, and representatives of the Armenian Catholic Eparchy and Apostolic Churches, collectively prayed and blessed the gathering.
The program moved so many hearts that over $30,000 was raised. A delightful reception, organized by St. Leon Armenian Cathedral’s Ladies Guild, was held after the event.
On February 9, 2014, a surprise 25th Wedding Anniversary party for Mr. & Mrs. Serop and Alice Ghazourian held in Los Angeles, Calif., raised over $13,000 in lieu of gifts by the partygoers, who were relatives or personal friends of the couple.
The following churches, charities and organizations came together to form the Syrian Armenian Relief Fund in August 2012: Armenian Catholic Eparchy in North America; Armenian Evangelical Union of North America; Western Diocese of the Armenian Church; Western Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America; Armenian General Benevolent Union; Armenian Missionary Association of America; Armenian Relief Society of Western U.S.A.; Armenian Democratic Liberal Party; Armenian Revolutionary Federation-Western U.S.A.; and Social Democrat Hunchakian Party-Western U.S.A. The SARF mailing address follows: P.O. Box 1948, Glendale, CA 91209-1948; the web site address follows: www.SyrianArmenianReliefFund.org.