One proposed rendering of a plan for development of the St. Vartan Cathedral Plaza of the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of America, New York (from "Facts on the Diocesan Development Plan Proposal: Architectural Renderings and Elevations," Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern))

Attacks on Diocesan Council Unhelpful


To the Editor:

Having just read the vicious letter sent by Rebecca Bakalian Hachikian from Los Angeles (see MS September 8 issue), attacking Jim Kalustian, chairman of the Diocesan Council and longtime servant of the Armenian Church, I am compelled to respond.

It is so easy to be a critic from 3,000 miles away and to throw bombs against a good man who is trying to do the difficult job of dealing with a perennial problem of the Diocese. Financing a $ 4.7 million budget through various means available, most of which are becoming more tenuous every year.

What is the problem? The Diocese needs a steady source of income to not only meet its daily programs but to further develop its services for the vastly more complicated community it serves throughout the eastern region.

The original founders of the Diocesan complex were wise and thoughtful individuals who were not afraid to create something unimaginable just 50 years after the genocide. Namely a beautiful cathedral and diocesan headquarters in the heart of New York City to be cherished and supported for many years in the future. Fortunately, it contains an asset that can be utilized and monetized for the benefit of the Diocese.

The proposed plan, as I understand it, is still being finalized. Whether it is an outright sale of the air rights or a long-term lease is one question that needs to be decided? Is this the best available option to develop the air rights? Are we getting the best expertise from professionals to independently advise us as we move forward towards a decision?

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Instead of jumping to conclusions isn’t it better to wait until all the facts are known? The best place to debate this in detail is the Diocesan Assembly in May 2019. Even before then, the community at large should also be heard through regional town hall meetings throughout the diocese. By then we will have the facts and input from all sides for all the delegates to the Assembly to consider and decide.

It does no good to prematurely conclude that it’s a good or bad plan without knowing all the facts. All of us in the diocesan community need to be patient and make the correct decision at the appropriate time.

This is not the time to vilify one individual or seek to destroy an idea that needs to be seriously considered for the good of the entire church.

Throwing insults is not helpful especially coming from an individual who has no stake in the matter in the first place.

Michael Haratunian

Franklin Lakes, NJ










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