In a momentous celebration held on Thursday, June 29, marking the 30th anniversary of the Nerses the Great Charitable and Social Organization, His Eminence Archbishop Anoushavan, Prelate, emphasized the importance of upholding the sacrifices of martyrs and preserving Armenian traditions. The organization continues its mission to assist martyrs’ families and contribute to the unity and strength of the nation. The event was attended by 1,000 people filling the Hagop Baronian Theater of Yerevan to capacity.
Actually, it is a double anniversary, as it marks the two phases of the establishment of the charity, with an initial aid mission to Armenia following the earthquake of 1988 in the dying days of the Soviet era and then the formal set up of the structure in 1993 that provides support to the families of soldiers who died serving the homeland.
“Glory to God the compassionate, who has found us worthy of celebrating the 30th and 35th anniversary of the Nerses the Great Charitable and Social Organization in our motherland today,” the Prelate said. “This organization was born from the tears and sorrow of the 1988 Leninakan earthquake as a ray of hope and then, rising from the thorny paths of liberation of today’s Armenia, became a balm flower.”
His Eminence expressed his filial gratitude to His Holiness Karekin II, Catholicos of All Armenians, for his words of blessing sent from Holy Etchmiadzin, with which this ceremony was opened.
“The mystery of Etchmiadzin… is beyond all human thought and imagination, because the Son of God, descending in Armenia, became the architect not only of the first Cathedral of the Christian world, but also of the Christian Armenian’s faith and hope, soul and heart, mind and body.” It begot us St. Gregory, the enlightener of souls, the Prelate said, listing “Nerses, the enlightener of hearts, as well as enlightening patriarchs Sahag and Mesrob; the commanders of Vartanantz” who fought to defend the faith and motherland; Momik the priest, who made the stones speak; Toros Roslin, who brought the pages to life with his miniatures, and the genius of Gomidas.
Hence, finding in the roots of the past all that we have in common, the Armenian nation must rise like a phoenix from the ashes of the Genocide and from the depths of the Siberian exiles and become, to paraphrase Movses Khorenatsi, the Father of Armenian History, a people which however small, is always capable of acts of bravery worth remembering and writing about.
“It is with this conviction that the U.S. Eastern Prelacy of the Great House of Cilicia started its mission for the benefit of the families of the victims of the 1988 earthquake and especially the Armenian freedom fighter martyrs in 1993 under the leadership of then Prelate Archbishop Mesrop, of blessed memory, which has continued without interruption to date,” Archbishop Anoushavan said. “Like humble alms, this mission keeps alive the cause of faith, hope and love, in the hearts of grieving fathers and mothers, widows and orphans, but it especially helps keep alive the presence and testimony of all those who sacrificed their lives for justice and freedom, on the altar of the saints.”
We will give more details on the event in our next issue.