His Holiness Catholicos Aram I met with His Eminence Archbishop Anoushavan Tanielian and His Grace Bishop Torkom Donoyan, Prelates of the Eastern and Western Prelacies of the United States respectively, on Tuesday, Aug. 31, at the monastery of the Holy Mother of God in Bikfaya. His Eminence Archbishop Shahe Panossian, Prelate of the Armenian Prelacy of Lebanon, was also present.
The main topic on the agenda was the assistance to be provided to the Lebanon Prelacy. His Holiness outlined the dire situation the Lebanese Armenians face, especially due to a lack of food and medicine, and emphasized the duty to assist them. He wanted to learn the Prelates views on the crisis Upon the Catholicos’s suggestion, on Wednesday, September 1, Archbishop Anoushavan and Bishop Torkom met with Archbishop Shahe and the Executive Council of the Armenian Prelacy of Lebanon to get better acquainted with the situation of the community.
In the afternoon, the visiting churchmen participated in the Brotherhood’s meeting held at the monastery of the Holy Mother of God in Bikfaya, presided by His Holiness Aram I.
The Catholicos had appealed to the Eastern and Western Prelacies on August 5 to organize a fundraiser for the Lebanon Prelacy, following which he invited the Prelates to the Holy See for consultations.
On Wednesday, September 1, archbishops Anoushavan and Torkom were received by Archbishop Shahe at the Armenian Prelacy of Lebanon, who thanked the U.S. Prelates for visiting Lebanon to witness firsthand the critical situation in the country, where a socioeconomic crisis has compounded the difficulties created by the covid pandemic, compromising the Lebanese people’s access to basic needs. The three prelates were interviewed by the hosts of Voice of Van radio station and Aztag newspaper.
On behalf of the Religious and Executive Councils as well as their communities, both U.S. Prelates thanked the Catholicos for his initiative, saying not only they had visited to offer their Prelacies’ support but also to express solidarity. In the Christian spirit of “the one who endures to the end will be saved,” as well as the Armenian saying that “bad days come and go,” they stressed the importance of cooperation.
Archbishops Anoushavan and Torkom then met with Archbishop Shahe and the Executive Council of the Armenian Prelacy of Lebanon to learn more about the aid effort carried out by them, which transcends the classical understanding of the Church’s mission. Both U.S. Prelates promised to do their utmost to mobilize their communities to help Lebanese Armenians overcome this dramatic situation.
In the evening, His Holiness briefed the Cilician Brotherhood on the developing situation. Catholicos Aram praised highly the loyalty of both U.S. Prelates to the mission of the Holy See of the Great House of Cilicia.