ANTELIAS, Lebanon—Seta Khedeshian, the chair of the Bird’s Nest Orphanage Board of Trustees, has said that His Holiness Catholicos Aram I of the Holy See of Cilicia has ordered the suspension of plans to move the graves of the orphans’ cemetery.
According to Lebanon’s Aztag daily newspaper, Khedeshian told the Voice of Van radio station that the Catholicos has suspended plans to allow time for the Catholicosate to provide a more comprehensive explanation to the public, and to create a calmer atmosphere so that the issue is analyzed in a broader way.
Over the past few months, several reports claimed that there were plans to build a luxury beach resort on two-thirds of the historic Bird’s Nest Orphanage plot in Jbeil, Lebanon. In early February, the Board of Directors of Bird’s Nest informed the public that they would be relocating the 33 individual graves to 2 collective tombs on the upper part of the Bird’s Nest plot. Around two-thirds of the graves are of orphans; one-third are of genocide survivors or employees of the orphanage born before 1915. The decision to relocate the bodies was purportedly made to “bring the remains of these orphans closer to the grave of Maria Jacobsen, the founder of the orphanage.”