In a message to Diocesan leaders, Bishop Daniel Findikyan enlisted the support of the Eastern Diocese in a critical new mission of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin.
Called “Artsakh Outreach,” the humanitarian effort aims to deliver help to the large number of displaced families from Artsakh, who have been severely affected by the abrupt end to the fighting and Armenia’s acquiescence to the terms of the ceasefire.
That help includes material relief and housing, but also social services and spiritual outreach to help families deal with the horrors of living through the war. No one who survived the conflict, whether soldier or civilian, is able to sleep peacefully at night in the aftermath.
A committee operating under the auspices of His Holiness Karekin II, the Catholicos of All Armenians, is comprised of some 20 individuals from Armenia and major dioceses of the diaspora. Its Finance sub-committee has created guidelines for donations, budgets, and expenditures, to maintain a tight reign on where funds originate, how they are allocated, and how they are eventually spent. The controls allow for swift decision-making, efficient use of funds, and total visibility and accountability.
“We can all be proud of the way the people of the Eastern Diocese stood tall in support of Artsakh and Armenia in the dark days of war last year. But Armenia and Artsakh still need our help,” says the Primate in his appeal to support Artsakh Outreach. Read his entire message to Diocesan leaders below.
In this holy season of Great Lent, I greet you in the love of our Lord Jesus Christ.
I am writing to inform our leadership about the effort currently underway to help displaced families from Artsakh: a mission of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin under the auspices of His Holiness Karekin II, the Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians.
Called ARTSAKH OUTREACH, this critical mission of Holy Etchmiadzin aims to raise support throughout the worldwide Armenian Church, and deliver aid to our brothers and sisters in their time of need.
As we are all painfully aware, in the aftermath of the unprovoked war on Artsakh, Armenia is now a place of refuge for thousands of wounded soldiers, bereaved families, and displaced citizens of Artsakh—all in dire need of financial, spiritual, medical, and psychological support. Some 40,000 Armenians lost their homes in Artsakh, and have no place to return for the foreseeable future. Now settled in Armenia, these individuals and families are struggling with the basic necessities of life—all amid the devastation of a national economic crisis and the worldwide pandemic.
At my direction, the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of America is working through ARTSAKH OUTREACH to come to the aid of our homeland and its people. I see this as an intrinsically Christian mission that we as a church should undertake as members of the Body of Christ, responsible to our fellow children of God. Of course, Holy Etchmiadzin is ideally placed to be effective and responsive in such an effort, and especially to ensure that its deep spiritual dimension remains paramount among our people.
In many ways, the establishment of this enterprise resembles the birth of our own Diocese’s Fund for Armenian Relief some 30 years ago, in response to Armenia’s earthquake crisis. I want to note that leaders from our Diocese have been involved with ARTSAKH OUTREACH from its inception. It is chaired by my predecessor as Primate of our Diocese, Archbishop Khajag Barsamian. Catholicos Karekin II has asked James Kalustian to assist in this global effort, and I have asked him to be our Diocese’s liaison.
Our faithful should be aware that this will be a longterm effort. Initially, the Mother See envisioned an outreach campaign that would last between three and nine months. But it has become clear that the need is far greater than anticipated, and must incorporate not only immediate material relief, but housing, counseling, and job training, among other things. The painful reality is that no one who survived the Artsakh war—whether soldier or civilian—did so without experiencing deep wounds of the spirit. The larger objective of ARTSAKH OUTREACH will be to enable the affected individuals and families to eventually stand on their own.
I strongly encourage our parishes and all of our faithful to support this effort. A secure, user-friendly website, ArtsakhOutreach.org, presents details of current and future projects, reports on progress, and promotional materials that you can adapt to the needs of local fundraising efforts.
Donors can make a one-time contribution in any amount, or “adopt” a family on a month-by-month basis. Donations provide food, shelter, basic necessities, and utilities—and can be made online or via check. Whatever avenue you choose, please know that every gift makes a difference in this time of need.
We can all be proud of the way the people of the Eastern Diocese stood tall in support of Artsakh and Armenia in the dark days of war last year. But Armenia and Artsakh still need our help. Let us give ARTSAKH OUTREACH our determined moral and material support, as we pray to our merciful Lord for its success.
With my prayers,