ISTANBUL (Nor Marmara) — With the new school year starting in less than a month, the question of whether the Armenian schools of Istanbul will reopen is still unclear due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Regardless of this, however, there is another issue at hand – that of needy parishes in need of financial assistance.
This past week, a meeting was held at the Kumkapu Patriarchal Cathedral, with the chairpersons of parishes that operate the schools. The topic was the financial needs of the schools, and the meeting was presided over by Patriarch Sahag II.
Patriarch Sahag opened the meeting by indicating that, in reality, the Patriarchate does not have jurisdiction to intrude on such affairs, and that clergy must be relegated to spiritual issues, but that the gathering had been called because the community needed unity in this difficult period. He further stated that he believed that with equal efforts and good intentions, the problems could be resolved. Indeed, stated the Patriarch, the schools are facing hardships and are in a difficult situation, but it is not true that any schools need be closed or merged at this stage. It is necessary to work together to overcome the situation, he continued, indicating hope that Parish Councils with secure finances will certainly extend a helping hand to needy parishes.
Several chairpersons who oversee parishes with financial problems spoke. They again stressed that they needed unity and aid in order to keep their schools open. They underlined that pupils who live in wealthy parishes study for free, and that these difficult times have hurt needy Parish Councils, who oversee parishes that are home to many Armenians, yet do not have income properties to secure financial means.