Istanbul meeting

Istanbul (Jamanak, Nor Marmara) – Within community circles, the prioritization of spurring social support within Turkish-Armenian national-ecclesiastical life is continually on the current agenda. Questions raised by the pandemic, the serious economic situation and other factors have turned the movement for social support into a priority. In this situation, the Patriarchal See is also trying to spur support movements within the community. Sources from Kum Kapu relate that yesterday a meeting took place at the Patriarchate in the course of which these types of questions were considered. Patriarch of the Armenians of Turkey Sahag Mashalian, presided over the meeting. The communique released in conjunction with the conference read as follows:

“As is well known, the charitable mission to the poor has become the object of special attention on the part of the Patriarchal See in recent times. In order to conduct investigations for this mission and with the purpose of spreading the mission even further, on August 26, 2020, Wednesday, at 4:00 pm in the hall of the Patriarchate, under the presidency of His Beatitude Patriarch Sahag II a consultative meeting took place. Participating in the meeting were the Patriarchal Vicar Fr. Krikor Damadian, the director of the Patriarchate’s Central Social Aid Body Khachig Canel, and also the representatives of the charitable committees of the churches and auxiliary volunteer youth of the charitable mission.

The meeting began with an opening prayer from His Beatitude and well-wishes. Our spiritual leader greeted those present and expressed thanks for their service to the community. Recalling the increased importance of philanthropic aid in the recent coronavirus pandemic period, he praised all those volunteers who with dedicated effort had gotten aid to the needy. His Beatitude recalled again that ‘The Patriarchate is closely interested and will continue to be interested in the needs of families that are wanting.’

After His Beatitude’s welcome address Khachig Canel spoke and first of all informed the group on the work that had been carried out. He noted that in the coronavirus period, the establishment of the charitable mission under the auspices of the Patriarchal see, similar to other bodies, was indispensable. With the Patriarch’s blessing and oversight, the job of directing the work under the Patriarchate’s auspices was entrusted to him. The purpose of this body was, working together with the charitable arms of the churches and with the participation of volunteers, to aid needy families. In this period, the parish councils not having charitable arms also had given financial aid to the work being done. Khachig Canel at this point first gave an accounting of the donations, expenses, and aid given. He indicated also the young people present who during this period had greatly helped the mission’s success. He considered the work a success, since aid had reached hundreds of families by way of the Patriarchal See. The main principle of the mission was to reach the needy and in a just manner to satisfy their primary needs. Canel also said that the work which had received a boost in recent months needed to continue and at this point expressed thanks to his Beatitude who had given the occasion for such a meeting at the Patriarchate.

After the report, the attendees presented their experiences and especially the work they had done during the pandemic period. The coronavirus period had been an occasion for the charitable bodies of the churches to become more of a factor. In this direction, it was stressed to the charitable bodies the importance of working in conjunction with their churches’ parish councils and pastors.

At the close of the meeting the Patriarch gave his paternal blessing to those present. He indicated that helping the poor was established on scriptural foundations and that it was a God-pleasing mission. His Beatitude noted that together with the spiritual and educational mission of the churches, this also had an important place. In connection with this he again stressed that the benevolent mission also must have a place in the agenda of parish councils and they must help financially in this regard. He suggested that within the churches the scope of the jurisdiction of the charitable bodies should be delineated. His Beatitude expressed joy also at seeing the active young people’s presence and thanked all of them, who with their presence had also aided the work with youthful vigor. Lastly our spiritual leader prayed that the sudden financial and moral difficulties of the coronavirus pandemic would end soon. The meeting reached its end with a final prayer.”

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