Dear Brothers and Sisters,
It’s now more than ten days since the devastating earthquake happened in historical Armenian Cilicia, modern Turkey, which caused serious consequences also in Syria, and left behind it over 41,000 deaths, 114,000 injured, thousands of demolished buildings, and untold psychological and material damage. As much as the catastrophe by Mother Nature was shocking, the human response has also been amazing, both within the earthquake zone and internationally on different levels.
The true spirit of humanity has once again been engaged, and fundraising activities are in high gear around the globe. I would like to tell you about a very modest gesture by a gentleman, which deeply moved me. Once again, we witness that as much as sufferings may hurt us, through such suffering the pure image of Divine love is revealed in and through us.
The day following the earthquake, this gentleman approached me, and after describing his and his wife’s agony in watching the horrible scenes caused by the calamity of the disaster, told me: “My wife, with tears in her eyes, said, ‘Please, let us cancel our traditional Valentine Day’s dinner, and instead give a hundred-dollar check to the Syrian Armenian Relief Fund.’”
For a minute, I was speechless and overwhelmed by the spirit of this sacrificial love, which transcends the value of the donation, and makes us aware of being the authentic representatives of the Divine Image. I gave him a warm hug, and said, “Truly God works through people like you.”
I am humbled to say that the modest gift of this couple is being multiplied throughout the Prelacy with the cooperation of our parishes. As of today, $57,885 has been raised upon the relief appeal of His Holiness Catholicos Aram I.
May God shower His mercy upon us all and direct us always in good thoughts and deeds.
Prelate, Eastern United States