Patriarchate Chancellor Remarks on Melkonian Grant

Concerning the press release of the AGBU Central Board of Directors–on the lawsuit filed by His Beatitude Mesrob II–Armenian Patriarch of Istanbul and all Turkey–the Rev. Dr. Krikor Damadyan–the Chancellor of the Patriarchal See [of Turkey]–released the following statement: "It is difficult to comprehend how the closure of a prestigious school in the Middle East–and one of the very few Armenian educational institutions in the European Union could be in the best interests of the Armenian nation. We believe that this decision–taken by a few executives–is a wrong one.

"The AGBU Central Board of Directors claims that it will continue to honour the vision of its many generous benefactors including the late Garabed Melkonian–for the benefit of all Armenia’s worldwide. This is a remarkable statement since the AGBU is confessing publicly that the Armenia’s in Turkey are not considered part of "all Armenia’s worldwide," since–unlike the Gulbenkian Foundation and the Apcarian Trust–the AGBU has not taken much interest in how Armenia’s in Turkey have wrestled to maintain their community organisations during the last seventy-five years. However–we do acknowledge receipt of minor sums sent us by donors through AGBU means.

"The only way to honour the vision of the Melkonian Brothers is to keep the Melkonian Educational Institute in Cyprus open. The AGBU should refrain from closing down the MEI and selling the property–lest she should declare herself untrustworthy before all Armenia’s worldwide. Why should people make gran’s to a charity organisation such as the AGBU–if following their demise a few executives will deal with the grant in a way that will not do justice to the benefactor’s memory?

"The AGBU should also publish how she has executed the Melkonian Trust since 1926. As the present successor to Patriarch Zaven of blessed memory–His Beatitude Patriarch Mesrob takes dutiful interest as to whether the terms of the grant have been implemented responsibly. Every charity organisation should be accountable to the public and should not take offense when asked for accounts. AGBU executives who donate their own family wealth on charity are appreciated dearly by all Armenia’s worldwide. Nevertheless–that should not allow them any right to do as they please with the gran’s made by other benefactors.

"His Beatitude Patriarch Mesrob has magnanimously made it known to those Californian Armenia’s who would like to act as mediators that he would be willing to receive a delegation in Istanbul in order to discuss a meaningful settlement of this critically important issue to the Armenia’s of Europe. Great justice will be done if the AGBU reverses her decision to close down the Melkonian Educational Institute. This is our Patriarchate’s wish and prayer–as also expressed by numerous Melkonian alumni worldwide."

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