Catholicos Aram I urged Armenians throughout the world to continue supporting the reconstruction efforts of the Lebanese Armenian community following the massive explosion at the port of Beirut last month.
“Despite these difficult circumstances, the Lebanese Armenian community is still the backbone of the Diaspora Armenians with its leadership role in the Armenian world,” said Aram I in comments made on the Catholicosate’s Cilicia TV network last Thursday, following a meeting with the Lebanese Armenian Reconstruction Committee at the United Armenian School. “The reorganization and revitalization of the Lebanese Armenian community is of importance for the entire Armenian world –it is with this comprehensive approach that we have to stand by the Lebanese Armenian community.”
Notwithstanding the challenges, “Lebanese Armenians will continue attached to this country, because the development of the Lebanese Armenian community is not only vital for itself but also for the homeland, Artsakh, and our cause.”
Earlier in the day, His Holiness paid a visit to the young volunteers who are helping register the households that suffered damages and distribute the aid. He listened to their explanations and spoke with people who had come to collect aid. The Catholicos assured those present that under his immediate patronage every person in need would continue receiving support without any restrictions.
“We will never want our needy families to be uncared for, with homes destroyed,” he said. “We want that to be away from our sight and our minds.”
His Holiness was happy to learn that the committee had already provided reconstruction help to approximately 1,500 homes. “The first stage is rebuilding people’s houses, the second must be the churches, then schools and community centers, and so on,” he said.
He also had words of praise for committee members and the volunteers, who “leaving their work, family, pleasure and rest, are here to help our great family, the Armenians of Lebanon.” The committee, he said, had “worked night and day… gradually bringing to life its plans and work.”
The Catholicos, thanking Armenians from all over the world for their support to the reconstruction effort, reiterated that the Armenian Prelacy of Lebanon and boards of all Armenian schools had offered free tuition for all students for the new school year.
This required the sustained effort of every Armenian to help our schools and families to send their children to Armenian schools. “For different reasons, beginning with a financial one, our parents are inclined to send their children to non-Armenian schools,” His Holiness said. “It’s desirable that the children of all our families go to Armenian schools.”
Once again, he expressed his gratitude to the reconstruction committee, community organizations and families as well as every Armenian individual, calling on everybody to jointly participate in the reconstruction effort. “ May God help the Lebanese Armenians, all our communities, our nation and our homeland.”