August 17, 2006
To: Reverend Clergy, Parish Council Chairpersons and Members, and Delegates
Re: Aid for Lebanon.
My office this week received a communiqué from His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, regarding the situation in Lebanon.
In his letter, the Catholicos speaks of the devastating impact the recent fighting has had on the innocent people of Lebanon. Along with the hundreds killed, thousands of people have been left without shelter and have become refugees.
He wrote that the Armenian community in Lebanon has been impacted as well, even though, thanks to God, the damage to the Armenian community has been limited. But thousands of Arab refugees have found shelter in Armenian churches and community centers.
In the course of the conflict, the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin has been in constant contact with the Catholicate of Cilicia. Recently, Catholicos Karekin II spoke by phone with His Holiness Aram I. The two agreed to appeal to our parishes to raise funds to support families affected by the conflict.
The money we have been collecting will be channeled to a special fund being established by the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin. All of the funds collected by Etchmiadzin will then be sent to help and support the Armenian community in Lebanon.
We thank each of you and your parishes for holding a special plate collection last Sunday to benefit this relief effort. We also thank those individuals who have already answered our call and sent their donations directly to our affiliate the Fund for Armenian Relief (FAR).
Please help our Armenian brothers and sisters in Lebanon by making your donation today. You can give online at the FAR website: www.farusa.org. I also ask each parish to continue working as a community to raise money to support the relief effort planned by the Mother See.
We join His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, in praying that the ceasefire holds and helps usher peace into the region. May God guide humanity to His love and understanding.
Archbishop Khajag Barsamian