Istanbul Earthquake Fund Passes $600 000

GLENDALE–The US visit by Istanbul Patriarch Arch. Mesrob Mutafyan concluded Monday–with the funds raised for the earthquake ravaged Armenian establishmen’s in Turkey surpassing the expected $600,000.

The Lincy Foundation has agreed to match all contributions up to $600,000 through donations received via the United Armenian Fund.

Mutafyan arrived in Los Angeles last Wednesday and held a press conference the following Thursday. However–the brunt of his activities took place last weekend when on Sunday he participated in a Mass at St. Peter Armenian Church in Van Nuys where a special requiem service was officiated for His Holiness Karekin I–the late Catholicos of All Armenia’s–as well as late Patriarchs of Turkey.

Immediately following the Mass–Mutafyan attended a luncheon at the AGBU Nazarian Center–where more than 500 community members–mainly Istanbul-Armenia’s–gathered to meet the Patriarch and participate in the relief efforts for the Aug. 17 earthquake which ravaged Istanbul and caused an estimated $1.2 million in damages to Armenian institutions there.

Mutafyan was invited to the US by Istanbul-Armenian compatriotic organizations–as well as the Primates of the Eastern and Western Dioceses of the Armenian Apostolic Church Arch. Khajag Barsamian and Arch. Vatche Hovsepian.

While in the Southland–Mutafyan met with the Executive Director of the Lincy Foundation James Aljian and visited the St. Gregory the Illuminator Church in Pasadena–the Hovsepian Armenian School and the Ararat Home.

Mutafyan was accompanied by to the luncheon by his scepter bearers Deacon Sahag Mashalian and Sister Hripsime Sassounian–as well as United Armenian Fund Executive Director Harout Sassounian.

The program for the Sunday luncheon commenced with welcoming remarks by Hagop Zerounian–the chairman of welcoming committee. Also speaking were Dr. Vahram Birdjik–chairman of the Organization of Istanbul-Armenia’s and Simon Acilac the director of the Khachadourian choir.

In his remarks–Western Primate Archbishop Vatche Hovsepian briefed the attendees on the Patriarch’s itinerary and announced that the funds raised for the earthquake relief had reached $610,000.

He reported that $300,000 was raised on the East Cost–$30,000 in Dallas and $280,000 on the West Coast–adding that $100,000 was raised during a reception at the residence of Garabed Agpolat–Thursday.

Arch. Hovsepian stressed that throughout the years–the Western Diocese has undertaken numerous fund-raising ventures–but never for the Istanbul Patriarchate–since that entity itself has been a source of assistance to the Mother See. However–he pointed out–the Patriarchate is in dire need now and the Western Diocese is happy to help.

In his remarks–Arch. Mutafyan briefed the gathered about the earthquake relief efforts and expressed special gratitude to the Lincy Foundation for agreeing to match contributions up to $600,000.

A cultural program was also included in the luncheon–with a recitation performed by Jbid Tcherkinian–as well as a musical performance by the Unison violin ensemble under the direction of Sarkis Boukoudjian. Soprano Salpi Mayilian and Tenor Antranik Movsessian also performed–accompanied on the piano by Hovig Voskanian.

The program concluded with benediction by Arch. Mutafyan.

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