Dear Sisters and Brothers,
Twenty years ago, on a warm summer day, we witnessed one of the greatest celebrations of the Armenian Apostolic Church within the courtyard of St. Gregory’s Cathedral in Antelias. Pilgrims from all over the world gathered to see His Holiness Aram I celebrate the Holy Badarak and Blessing of the Holy Muron. Our Prelacy arranged a pilgrimage to the Holy See of Cilicia for this unique celebration that only occurs once every seven years, or on very special occasions, and to Der Zor to pray at the Genocide Memorial which no longer exists.
We are all linked together by the Holy Muron that was placed on our foreheads when we were baptized and confirmed, the same Holy Muron that was used to confirm King Dertad when he converted to Christianity, the same Holy Muron used to consecrate our churches and every Vehapar from the time of St. Gregory to the reign of His Holiness Aram I. With each new successive batch of Holy Muron, a container of the old Muron dating back to St. Gregory is co-mingled with the new in a vessel, linking the past to the present and to the future and stirred and blessed with the relic of the right hand of St. Gregory.
Twenty years ago, we received spiritual nutrition by praying and witnessing the holy services remembering the victims of the Genocide. We briefly walked in the same desert in Syria that our great-grandparents and grandparents did, imagining how difficult it was to survive the intense heat, with no food, no water and no shelter. The survivors of the Genocide, those who were “fortunate” to survive and arrive in Lebanon were welcomed by the people of Lebanon. The Lebanese people did what our Lord had instructed: they gave them clothes when they were naked, they gave them food when they were hungry, and they gave them shelter when they were homeless.
A year has passed since the massive explosion in the port of Beirut, the pandemic still lingers on and the economy of the country is in turmoil. Now our Vehapar is asking for our help. It is time to do our part and help our sisters and brothers in Lebanon. History will remember those generous Lebanese and Armenians who 100 years ago helped our survivors without hesitation. How will history remember us?
Will future generations say that the Armenians in America in 2021 helped their fellow Armenians and the Lebanese people? We owe them a debt of gratitude for the generosity they provided. They opened their homes, their wallets and their hearts…now it’s our turn to be the Good Samaritan and to give generously.
I ask all my fellow Armenian sisters and brothers to be mindful, generous and contribute our part to help our sisters and brothers who are in a dire situation.
With brotherly love and hope,
Subdeacon of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America