WCC Proposes Programs in Armenia

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–A round table core group meeting of the World Council of Churches dedicated to Armenia took place last week in Etchmiadzin. WCC Unit IV Europe Secretary Alexander Belopopsky spoke to Noyan Tapan about the round table and specifically what it meant for Armenia.

According to Belopopsky–WCC–which was founded in 1948–intends as its major goal to promote the unity of Christians throughout the world and boost cooperation among various Christian churches. "Today WCC includes more than 300 churches–except for the Roman Catholic Church–which is comprised of 400 million people. This is the brotherhood of churches and organizations. The Head Office of the World Council of Churches is located in Geneva," said the spokesperson.

Belopopsky said that the activities of WCC in Armenia are part of the activities of one of WCC’s four divisions–that is the mutual assistance and service division. On the invitation of the Armenian Apostolic Church and other churches and organizations–said the members–WCC held this round table to boost closer cooperation with the Armenian Apostolic Church. The major objective of the given cooperation is to boost service and education and to help the neediest–said Belopopsky.

"Our organization opened a branch office here–and jointly with the WCC Head Office and other countries we started work in the field of Christian education. The other important branch of our activities is social sector. For instance–the cooperation with "Shen" non-governmental organization allowed us to finance projects on populating of some of the deserted villages as well as those on creation of new jobs in the Siunik and Amasiya regions of Armenia," he said.

According to Belopopsky through international cooperation among churches it became possible to implement the project of a Christian education and equipment center based in the St.Etchmiadzin in the Gevorkian Seminary. The WCC leader also said that another main purpose of the meeting was to discuss new plausible projects in the social sector–that is the provision of free medical assistance to the needy–creation of new jobs–assistance in starting up small business.

"Problems of the Christian education have always been in focus for the WCC. We also pay much attention to boosting ties among different Armenian churches and other WCC-member churches," he asserted.

Belopopsky continued saying that WCC always tried to respond to needs of its members. "We are working in many countries and areas and we have special relations with the Armenian churches. There are many reasons for that. The Armenian Church is one of the most ancient churches in the world. The Armenian people and church are in a difficult situation for various reasons and we understand this and display solidarity with them. The other reason is that His Holiness Karekin I has been a great leader within the WCC," concluded Beloposky–explaining the body’s active involvement in Armenia.

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