ISTANBUL (NorMarmara, Jamanak, Agos, Armenian Patriarchate of Istanbul) – The coronavirus epidemic has shaken the Istanbul-Armenian community and especially its educational institutions, which have limited revenues and whose budget deficits are reaching significant proportions. The Armenian Patriarchate of Istanbul issued a directive concerning those schools which have applied to the Patriarchate for help.
The Patriarchate brought this situation to the attention of the Turkish-Armenian Association of Vakifs [Religious Foundations] on April 30, stressing that immediate joint action is necessary. In connection with this communication from the Patriarchate, Bedros Shirinoghlu, the chairman of the association, appealed to the leaders of all these Armenian institutions. The importance of having detailed financial reports from the schools requiring assistance was noted.
The chairmen of the parish councils of four schools which require immediate aid, those of the Kumkapı Cathedral and the Samatya, Feriköy and Topkapı churches, held a meeting at the Patriarchate on May 7 to develop a common plan.
They will submit reports of their financial situation as quickly as possible to the Patriarchate and the Vakifs Association. Then the latter’s executive council will hold a meeting conforming to the requirements of COVID-19 social distancing to discuss these reports. The council is composed of 21 members. A committee will be formed to evaluate the reports.
All community and parish bodies will be asked to present statements of their revenues so that it can be determined what resources are available.
A working committee will be formed to determine, based on the economic situation, whether to join the schools together, close them or keep them in equilibrium. This committee will be formed of experts and philanthropists. It will conduct its investigations on open platforms accessible to the public and present its results to the executive of the Vakifs Association.