Soon after the devastating August 4 explosion at the port of Beirut, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation Supreme Council of Armenia launched a fundraising campaign called “Help Your Compatriot-Lebanon.” The efforts yielded funds for the ARF Supreme Council’s “Yerkir” foundation to prepare 1,000 crates that arrived in Beirut on Thursday, the contents of which will be distributed to needy Armenian families.
Accompanying the flight were ARF Supreme Council of Armenia chairman Ishkhan Saghatelyan and fellow member Ashot Simonyan.
On Thursday, Saghatelyan and Simonyan, accompanied by ARF Lebanon Central Committee member Hagop Havatian and Melik Karakavorian visited His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia. During the meeting, Saghatelyan briefed the pontiff about the “Help your Compatriot” program, stressing the Armenia ARF’s unwavering support to Lebanese Armenians during this crisis.
Aram I commended the ARF Supreme Council of Armenia’s efforts, stressing that the assistance provided to Lebanon’s Armenian community, aside from its financial worth, has a deep moral aspect and is proof of the Armenia-Artsakh-Diaspora triumvirate’s meaning.
Saghatelyan praised the Catholicos for his concern and care toward the Lebanese Armenian community, as well as for initiating the worldwide fundraising for the rebuilding of Lebanon, which has seen exuberant participation from Armenia, Artsakh and the various communities in the Diaspora.
The Catholicos stressed the importance of quick revitalization of the Lebanese Armenian community and emphasized the crucial role it plays in the national reality. Aram I said Armenian communities in various Middle Eastern countries have a big role to play in advancing the national aspirations of the Armenian people. Thus, he said the pan-Armenian efforts to help confront the challenges facing those communities is detrimental.
The meeting also provided an opportunity to discuss the critical issues facing Armenia and Artsakh. Saghatelyan briefed the Catholicos on the ARF’s approaches and positions on some of the domestic issues in Armenia. Aram I, stressed the importance for developing meaningful and constructive relations between the homeland and the Diaspora, and creating expanded possibilities for cooperation.
Saghatelyan and Simonyan also visited the Lebanon’s Armenian Relief Cross “Araxi Boulghourdjian” socio-medical center, this time accompanied by ARF Lebanon Central Committee members Karakavorian and Louis Nader. They were welcomed by Armenian Relief Society Central Executive member Nelly Vekilian, as well as regional and local ARS members.
The ARF Supreme Council of Armenia delegation toured the facility and gained first-hand knowledge about the center’s activities, especially since the August 4 blast.
Saghatelyan praised Lebanon’s Relief Cross’ efforts, saying it is imperative to serve the people during difficult economic times, while expressing the ARF Supreme Council of Armenia’s solidarity to the organization. The ARF leader pointed to the ARS’ continues support to Armenia and Artsakh, thus, he said, the Supreme Council of Armenia will do its utmost to assist the Lebanese Armenian community during the current current crisis.
The Lebanon ARS member expressed their gratitude for the assistance provided by Armenia and said Armenia ARF members’ generosity was greatly important.
The ARF leaders also visited the Varduhi Degirmendjian Soup Kitchen and were impressed by the ARS members’ dedicated work in preparing food for needy Armenian families.