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Armenia

 

ACN Project of the Week – Russia

03.08.2016 in ACN BENEFACTORS, ACN PROJECTS, Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, Armenia, Russia, Youth Apostolate

PROJECT OF THE WEEK

 

Russia

Church Camp for the Holidays!

Again this year, 50 young people from the Armenian Catholic community of Venyov went to Catholic summer camp. Kids aged from 9 to 17 were spent a week with friends in a lovely spot and had lots of fun while deepening their faith.

 
Armenian Catholics make up a small minority in their native country amidst a population that is overwhelmingly Orthodox. In Russia, it is all the more so, for they are only a tiny group compared to others in this vast country with only four parishes. Because of this fact, it would be easy for the children to lose their Catholic identity.
Catechetical summer camp for children of Armenian communities in Russia in 2014
In the Church-run summer camps, the children have an opportunity to share in their common language, in their faith and in their customs with other children.
During the eight days of the camp they attend a daily Mass. They learn more about the history of their Church and of their homeland, and become more deeply rooted in its life. The program also includes not only painting, dancing, singing and gymnastics, but also important lessons in their own Armenian language, history and traditions. The younger participants are also prepared for their First Holy Communion.
 
Prier: l'une des multiples activités qui composent le camp de catéchèse de la communauté catholique arménienne de Veniov.

Prayer, one of the many activities during the day at Catholic Camp for the Armenian Community in Veniov. 

These summer camps have been held before in previous years, and have always been a huge success. The parish priest, Father Sedrak Khitaryan, writes, “The Church plays an immeasurably important role in the upbringing of these children and in the formation of their value system. Their religion forms the inner world of these children.” He is delighted these young people are able to receive spiritual nourishment while attending these summer camps organized with the help of young volunteers from the parish. He is happy the children are receiving this while at the same time relaxing, having fun and enjoying an unforgettable experience.

 

But without the help of Aid to the Church in Need it would be impossible to fund and organize these events! So this year, thanks to your generous support, we are helping them again with a contribution of $5,800 CAD.

 

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Feature Story – 40 Syrian refugee families supported in Armenia

25.01.2016 in ACN Canada, ACN PROJECTS, Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, Aid to refugees, Armenia

Armenia

ACN support of the neediest Syrian families 

Forty payment plastic cards with the value of 20,000 AMD (approximately $55 CAN) were distributed to the 40 most vulnerable and needy families from the Syrian refugee community in Armenia. Syrians were assisted on the occasion of New Year and Christmas holidays in the frame of the project “Improving Livelihoods of Syrian refugees in Armenia,” a vocational and psychological program funded by International Charity “Aid to the Church in Need” and implemented by the Armenia Round Table Foundation (ARTF). The project is another example of a good cooperation between the Armenian Apostolic Church and the Armenian Catholics in the country.

ARMENIA / NATIONAL 15/00102 Programs for the improvement of livelihood of Syrian Armenian refugees in Armenia (vocational & psychological): On December 25th and December 28th, ART organized the distribution of plastic cards in close cooperation with Araratyan Patriarchal Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church and “Aleppo” NGO, which Syrian refugees, particularly women, attend regularly for psychosocial sessions that contribute to their recovery and improve their resilience. Plastic payment cards give the free access to their choice of food products, and allow them a restricted purchase of alcohol and cigarettes. Bishop Navasard Kchoyan welcomed Syrian refugees with prayers and encouraged their involvement in Church activities. The Bishop underlined that Syrians have their own unique features, and today they enrich our lives, returning to their Armenian roots under the sad circumstances. He expressed gratitude to Syrian-Armenian spirit and the love, faith, and traditions. Here: Bishop Navasard Kchoyan with Syrian refugees Only this very small file quality available

 

On December 25th and December 28th, ARTF organized the distribution of plastic cards in close cooperation with Araratyan Patriarchal Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church and “Aleppo” NGO, which Syrian refugees, particularly women, attend regularly for psychosocial sessions that contribute to their recovery and improve their resilience. Plastic payment cards give them free access to their choice of food products, and allow them a restricted purchase of alcohol and cigarettes.

Bishop Navasard Kchoyan welcomed Syrian refugees with prayers and encouraged their involvement in Church activities. The Bishop underlined that Syrians have their own unique features, and today they enrich the lives of the Armenians, returning to their roots under these sad circumstances. He expressed gratitude to the Syrian-Armenian people for keeping their spirit, faith and traditions.

 

ARMENIA / NATIONAL 15/00102 Programs for the improvement of livelihood of Syrian Armenian refugees in Armenia (vocational & psychological): On December 25th and December 28th, ART organized the distribution of plastic cards in close cooperation with Araratyan Patriarchal Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church and “Aleppo” NGO, which Syrian refugees, particularly women, attend regularly for psychosocial sessions that contribute to their recovery and improve their resilience. Plastic payment cards give the free access to their choice of food products, and allow them a restricted purchase of alcohol and cigarettes. Bishop Navasard Kchoyan welcomed Syrian refugees with prayers and encouraged their involvement in Church activities. The Bishop underlined that Syrians have their own unique features, and today they enrich our lives, returning to their Armenian roots under the sad circumstances. He expressed gratitude to Syrian-Armenian spirit and the love, faith, and traditions. Here: Syrian refugee woman with the plastic cardExtremely difficult conditions

The situation on the ground is much more difficult than anyone could imagine because some of the families are newcomers while others have been living in Armenia for 2 or 3 years and nothing has changed in their lives since their arrival. Mainly they live in rented flats and are not able to afford the communal expenses, the rents, and food, medical and other social services. Most of them live in cold houses because they can’t use electrical and gas heaters. The ARTF Program Officer made ten home visits out of forty families included on the lists for card distribution.

An 80-year-old woman was sitting covered by a dozen blankets so as not to freeze. She was blind and her legs were paralyzed and she needed her two daughters’ assistance all the time. She needs medicine, food and heat. Hearing the visitor’s voice brought tears from her eyes.

Another elderly woman kept silent all the time. She lost her son. He was a soldier, in Syria. Her grandchildren became her only sense of solace heart thereafter.

 

A new nation and thanks to the Church,  a new homeland

Arpy Pchakchyan’s family arrived on December 22, 2015 assisted by “Aleppo” NGO’s project “Save a Life.” They lived in Aleppo without water, food, and devoid of basic hygienic conditions to live in. They have 2 children: Zheni is 15 and Caro is 10. Remembering the horrors of war, Caro covered his face with trembling fingers. Currently they live in a two-room flat rented by Arpy’s mother; in total 8 people live in this flat. Despite all the difficulties, they are happy to have come to Armenia which they consider to be their homeland, to reunite with their family members – and mainly they are happy because they are still alive.

ARMENIA / NATIONAL 15/00102 Programs for the improvement of livelihood of Syrian Armenian refugees in Armenia (vocational & psychological): On December 25th and December 28th, ART organized the distribution of plastic cards in close cooperation with Araratyan Patriarchal Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church and “Aleppo” NGO, which Syrian refugees, particularly women, attend regularly for psychosocial sessions that contribute to their recovery and improve their resilience. Plastic payment cards give the free access to their choice of food products, and allow them a restricted purchase of alcohol and cigarettes. Bishop Navasard Kchoyan welcomed Syrian refugees with prayers and encouraged their involvement in Church activities. The Bishop underlined that Syrians have their own unique features, and today they enrich our lives, returning to their Armenian roots under the sad circumstances. He expressed gratitude to Syrian-Armenian spirit and the love, faith, and traditions. Here: Group picture of Syrian refugees with Bishop Navasard Kchoyan Only this very small file quality avaiable

Arpy is willing to attend a vocational course training group as her sister Mari did, who attended courses on manicuring and earns money providing home service to customers.

All the families expressed their gratitude for ARTF and all benefactors for the training and humanitarian assistance, especially on a difficult Christmas Eve. A fund of $2,320 CAN was offered to provide presents for refugees.

One thing is clear – they all want to find jobs and they are strong enough to start a new life in Armenia after losing their homes, property and loved ones in the war.

More on the programs for the improvement of livelihood of Syrian Armenian refugees in Armenia (vocational & psychological) ACN funded with $43,500 CAN

This project was jointly presented by Bishop Hovakim Manukyan, Head of the Inter-Church Relations of the Armenian Apostolic Church and by Archbishop Rafael Minassian, Ordinary of Armenian Catholics in Armenia, Georgia, Russia and Eastern Europe. It was launched on 30 June, 2015 in the Art House training Center in Yerevan with a plan for training 40 Syrian refugee women and youth for various professions. Another important objective of the project is the continuous support of a priest and an experienced psychologist for the affected refugees.

 

 

By Alla Sarkissova/Maria Lozano, ACN International

Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, ACN Canada

 

 

 

 

ACN PRESS – Armenian genocide

09.07.2015 in Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, Armenia, By Marta Petrosillo, Press Release

Armenia

“A hundred years later, we are still suffering the consequences of the genocide”

Montreal/Rome, Thursday July 9, 2015 – “We were certain that the Pope would remember the genocide, and his courage has changed the attitude of the entire world.” The words are those of Archbishop Minassian, the Ordinary of Eastern Europe for the Armenian Catholics, who was speaking to ACN about the reactions of his community to the statements made by Pope Francis on the anniversary of the Armenian massacre.

 

Armenian Ordinary for Eastern Europe

The archbishop underlined in particular how Pope Francis “had encouraged us to pursue reconciliation – an act of the highest educational, spiritual and human value, which helps us also to recover what we have lost.”

Archbishop Minassian belongs to the first generation to have succeeded the genocide, and he explains how even those Armenians who did not directly witness the massacre of 1915 nevertheless still suffer the consequences. “Some psychological attitudes, such as the instinctive fear at the sight of an armed guard, have been passed down even to the second and third generations,” he told ACN. The Archbishop is in no doubt as to the responsibility of Turkey. “It is enough to simply observe how the Erdogan government is not controlling its own frontiers. It is testimony to the fact that, after having committed that appalling crime in 1915, Turkey has never changed. I cannot understand how Europe and America can give so much consideration to a criminal country.”

Lack of infrastructure

Armenia/National 07/72Construction of the church at Gyumri, 09.

Recently in Rome for the plenary annual session of ROACO (Riunione delle Opere di Aiuto per le Chiese Orientali) an international symposium of aid agencies for the Oriental Churches, Archbishop Minassian spoke to the international Catholic pastoral charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), describing the situation of the various Armenian Catholic communities. Although he also has formal jurisdiction in certain countries of Central and Eastern Europe, including Poland, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic, and in other countries that were once part of the Soviet Union, the Archbishop is principally responsible for the Armenian community in Georgia, Armenia and the Russian Federation. “In the first two countries the Catholic faithful are poorer and have greater need of outside help,” he explained.

Nonetheless, each of the different countries has its own particular problems. In the Russian Federation, for example, the Armenian Church has no juridical status, whereas in Georgia it maintains somewhat complicated relations with the Orthodox Church. “In Armenia the cooperation with the Armenian Apostolic Church is perfect, since there are no differences either of a liturgical or of a sacramental nature.”

Nevertheless, in this mountainous Caucasian nation, the Armenian Catholic Church suffers from a lack of suitable infrastructure. “In the parishes there are no church halls or offices, everything has to be done inside the church itself. Often the priests are obliged to celebrate the Sacred Liturgies in school halls, with the result that we risk being looked upon as a sect.” Moreover, the Catholic Church is not permitted to teach religion in the schools. Only the Armenian Apostolic Church is permitted to teach in the schools – though not catechesis, but rather the history of the Armenian Church.

 

 

 

 

Journey with ACN – September 2014

05.09.2014 in ACN BENEFACTORS, ACN Canada, ACN International, Armenia, Sisters, Youth Apostolate

JOURNEY WITH ACN is our  weekly newsletter which is regularly posted to our blog on Fridays. It has been designed to acquaint you with the needs of the Catholic Church around the world as well as with various projects we have been able to bring to life thanks to people like you, our ACN benefactors.

This week a story from :  ARMENIA 


Summer camps with – and for – God

“Giving money to the poor is like lending money to God. There is no better investment.” Saint John (Don) Bosco (1815-1888) had a sense of both earthly needs and of heavenly perspectives. He also combined heaven and earth in his approach to education, and this is what made him the “father and teacher of youth” (Pope Saint John Paul II).

This same educational approach, centered in trust in God, underlies the work of many religious Sisters and youth workers all over the world today. In Armenia, many children grow up without a father or a grandfather, because these men are living abroad, seeking work. Together with orphans, disadvantaged and disabled children, they find loving care, support and security in the summer camps organized by the Armenian Sisters of the Immaculate Conception.

The children spend all year looking forward to this time with the Sisters which sustains them for many weeks afterwards. 850 children will take part this year, aged between 8 and 14. These 16 days will be an opportunity for them to forget, or come to terms with, their needs, cares and worries – all thanks to your generosity.

By contrast, the summer camp in Kazakhstan has a somewhat different perspective. It has been organized by Father Jozef Trela and his Catholic Parish of Our Lady Queen of the Rosary, together with Orthodox Father Aleksandr Merinov and his Parish of Saint Elijah in Urdzhar, in the southeast of the country. Their aim is to live in a spirit of ecumenism, along with a group of 60 young people. Prayer, discussions and catechetical sessions will help them to grow in a spirit of mutual understanding and friendship.

But whether the approach involves a loving family environment, ecumenism or a deepening of faith, there are – even today – countless numbers of young boys and girls, who, like those Don Bosco encountered in Turin, will find their way to God’s love difficult without the caring help of others. In summer camps like these you are helping to smooth out the way for them, and it often happens that during this time not a few of them will actually hear the call of God in moments of silent prayer. This must be the best possible “return” on your investment – exactly in the way that Don Bosco meant it.

 

To make a donation to ACN for refugees

To make a donation by please call: (514) 932-0552 or toll free 1-(800) 585-6333
or click the image to make a secure on-line donation.

 

 

Journey with ACN – Armenia

31.01.2014 in ACN BENEFACTORS, ACN Canada, ACN International, ACN PROJECTS, Armenia

JOURNEY WITH ACN is our Friday newsletter which will be regularly posted to our blog.  

Our weekly newsletter was designed to provide us with an opportunity to acquaint you with the needs of the Catholic Church around the world – and with some of the projects we have been able to realize together with ACN benefactors.

This week:  ARMENIA

 

 

 

Mass Offerings for priests

 

 ACN International, Adapted by AB Griffin, ACN Canada 

 

The Armenians are proud of the fact that Christianity was declared the state religion in their country as early as the year 301, thus making it, they say, the first Christian nation in the world. Almost 95% of the population belong to the Armenian Apostolic Church which, like the Coptic Church in Egypt, is one of the Oriental Orthodox Churches. However, there is also the Armenian Catholic Church which, while also celebrating its Liturgies according to the Armenian rite, remains in communion with Rome and loyal to the Pope.

 

© ACN

© ACN

In 1991 an eparchy (diocese) of the Armenian Catholic Church was established in the country, which today ministers to all the Armenian Catholic faithful in Armenia, Georgia and Eastern Europe. According to the Pontifical Yearbook, there are some 420,000 Armenian Catholic faithful living in these areas. In Armenia itself there are 48 Catholic parishes, in Georgia five, in Russia four.

 

 

 

Gifts from the faithful: acts of love

 

Archbishop Raphael Minassian tells us that he and his priests face major challenges. “Now, after the end of the Soviet era, the people need the constant presence of the priests”, he writes, “in order to bring them the Word of God in their everyday situations. They need to listen still, to speak, to ask questions, get answers and understand what it means to live their faith. But now there are many sects in the region, who exploit the difficult economic and social situation to lead the people astray“, he adds. But the truth is that, because of the dire economic situation, the Catholic Church herself scarcely has the resources to provide this much-needed pastoral care for the faithful – who moreover live scattered across a wide area.

 

And so, the archbishop has asked us for Mass Offerings so that he can at least provide some support for his priests. As in many other countries, Mass Offerings are the sole source of income that the priests have available to them. Having a Holy Mass celebrated for a particular intention, such as for the soul of a departed loved one, is already a long-standing tradition in the Church. The stipend, or financial gift, that the faithful give the priest in return is by no means a “payment”, but rather a gesture of loving support and gratitude for the priest who, through the words of Consecration, makes the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ once more present on the altar. For many priests, however, this small gift is vital to their survival. In his letter Archbishop Minassian writes: “If we do not receive help from you now, we are risking our mission in these countries.” We have given him 1080 of these Mass Stipends, given by our benefactors, so that he can help his 18 priests.