ST. LOUIS, Mo.—To commemorate the 104th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide this past April, St. Gregory Armenian Apostolic Church in Granite City and Holy Virgin Mary and Shoghagat Armenian Church in Belleville united in a tradition that was established in 2015. Since then, the churches have been taking turns in hosting the commemorative events.
The Thomas A. Kouyoumjian Foundation has been helping in the funding of these events.
The commemoration began with a joint badarak and requiem service with the two local clergymen rotating as celebrant and homilist. The visiting clergyman has been the celebrant in each year, while the host clergyman is the homilist. During a madagh luncheon served by the host parish and its organizations, Amasia Zargarian, the Grants and Development Manager of the HALO Trust, was the guest speaker. The HALO Trust employs over 200 local workers in the area who they have trained to help de-mine the region of Artsakh.
Zargarian, who worked for HALO in Artsakh before moving to Washington DC, spoke to 100 guests about the HALO Trust’s work in de-mining Artsakh and the organization’s international mission. He also spoke of the continuing struggle to de-mine parts of Artsakh that the international community labels as disputed territory. These areas are only able to be de-mined by the use of private funds since governmental organizations will not allow their funds to be used in normalizing these areas.
Guests participated in an enlightening Q&A session at the conclusion of Amasia’s prepared remarks. Following the event, a fundraiser was held for HALO Trust of which many in the community offered their generous support.
The HALO Trust’s work in de-mining is helping return normalcy to our people who continue to focus on living their lives in a free Artsakh. Our hope is that Amasia’s presentation will compel more events throughout the Eastern Region and the expansion of HALO’s mission in enhancing the quality of life of our brothers and sisters in Artsakh.
While we are a small Armenian community in the middle of the country, we remain very active and continue the mission of keeping our culture, language and heritage alive.
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