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Patriarchate Chancellor Remarks On the Melkonian Grant

ISTANBUL (Lraper Bulletin – 09/02/2005) – Concerning the press release
of
the AGBU Central Board of Directors, on the lawsuit filed by His
Beatitude
Mesrob II, Armenian Patriarch of Istanbul and all Turkey, the Revd. Dr.
Krikor Damadyan, the Chancellor of the Patriarchal See, made the
following
statement:

“It is difficult to comprehend how the closure of a prestigious school
in
the Middle East, and one of the very few Armenian educational
institutions
in the European Union could be in the best interests of the Armenian
nation.
We believe that this decision, taken by a few executives, is a wrong
one.

“The AGBU Central Board of Directors claims that it will continue to
honour
the vision of its many generous benefactors including the late Garabed
Melkonian, for the benefit of all Armenians worldwide. This is a
remarkable
statement since the AGBU is confessing publicly that the Armenians in
Turkey
are not considered part of “all Armenians worldwide,” since, unlike the
Gulbenkian Foundation and the Apcarian Trust, the AGBU has not taken
much
interest in how Armenians in Turkey have wrestled to maintain their
community organisations during the last seventy-five years. However, we
do
acknowledge receipt of minor sums sent us by donors through AGBU means.

“The only way to honour the vision of the Melkonian Brothers is to keep
the
Melkonian Educational Institute in Cyprus open. The AGBU should refrain
from
closing down the MEI and selling the property, lest she should declare
herself untrustworthy before all Armenians worldwide. Why should people
make
grants to a charity organisation such as the AGBU, if following their
demise
a few executives will deal with the grant in a way that will not do
justice
to the benefactor’s memory?

“The AGBU should also publish how she has executed the Melkonian Trust
since
1926. As the present successor to Patriarch Zaven of blessed memory,
His
Beatitude Patriarch Mesrob takes dutiful interest as to whether the
terms of
the grant have been implemented responsibly. Every charity organisation
should be accountable to the public and should not take offense when
asked
for accounts. AGBU executives who donate their own family wealth on
charity
are appreciated dearly by all Armenians worldwide. Nevertheless, that
should
not allow them any right to do as they please with the grants made by
other
benefactors.

“His Beatitude Patriarch Mesrob has magnanimously made it known to
those
Californian Armenians who would like to act as mediators that he would
be
willing to receive a delegation in Istanbul in order to discuss a
meaningful
settlement of this critically important issue to the Armenians of
Europe.
Great justice will be done if the AGBU reverses her decision to close
down
the Melkonian Educational Institute. This is our Patriarchate’s wish
and
prayer, as also expressed by numerous Melkonian alumni worldwide. “

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