Featured, Parish News, Prelacy News


On Sunday, March 10, St. Illuminator’s Cathedral collected $30,000 in a special fundraising luncheon it hosted and sponsored, together with the Qamishli Armenian Association of New York, to support the construction of the Soorp Hagop Armenian Church in Qamishli, Syria. 

More than 100 faithful and supporters gathered for the fundraiser, which included a raffle and a fundraiser, in Pashalian Hall, following the Divine Liturgy. His Eminence Archbishop Anoushavan, Prelate, presided. 

After introductory remarks by Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian, Pastor, and Mrs. Sevan Basmadjian on behalf of the organizing committee, attendees were treated to a special performance by Anahit Zakaryan, the Cathedral’s choirmaster, who offered a beautiful interpretation of the traditional Armenian songs “Paree Arakeel” and “Cilicia.”   

Following the musical interlude, Very Rev. Fr. Levon Yeghiayan, Vicar General of Jezireh, expressed his greetings and gratitude to St. Illuminator’s in a video message, pre-recorded for the occasion.  

In his remarks, Fr. Mesrob spoke about how, moved by the Christian devotion and patriotism of the Armenian community of Qamishli, he made the cause of aiding the construction of Soorp Hagop Church part of the Cathedral’s important acts of Lenten charity and enjoined members of the St. Illuminator’s community to do the same. Fr. Mesrob thanked the Cathedral Board, the Ladies’ Guild, the Qamishli Armenian Association, and the organizing committee for their work. 

Archbishop Anoushavan recalled his first visit to Qamishli 55 years ago and stressed that outreach by one Christian community to another in need is in the most authentic spirit of the Bible. By extending a helping hand to Soorp Hagop and the community of Qamishli, he said, St. Illuminator’s has upheld not only the tradition established by St. Paul to help Christians in need in other parts of the world, but truly fulfilled its calling as a Mayr Yegeghetsi, transmitting its motherly love not just to members of its own community but to Armenian communities in need wherever they may be found.   

On this occasion, the Prelate and Fr. Mesrob presented a special gift to Mr. and Mrs. Noubar and Sevan Basmadjian as a token of gratitude for the leading role they played in making the fundraiser possible.  

Established 90 years ago, the Qamishli Armenian community remains a vital redoubt of Armenian presence and culture in Syria, a reality illustrated by an inspirational video portrait that was screened at the fundraiser. However, the community has never had a proper church building to call home, something the Armenians of Qamishli have long sought to change. Plans for the current building were interrupted by war, natural disaster, and the pandemic. Now, the resumption of active work toward the construction of Soorp Hagop Church is an auspicious portent for the future of the thriving community of Qamishli, a quarter of whom are children of secondary school age and under, and a bright spot and symbol of hope for an Armenian nation in need of both. 

Earlier, the Prelate presided over and delivered the homily at the Divine Liturgy, which was celebrated by Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian with the participation of Rev. Fr. Bedros Kadehjian, a dear friend of St. Illuminator’s. The Soorp Badarak and the remarks at the fundraiser were streamed live to Qamishli.