Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin – 2/11/16
On October 29, His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians attended the 89th Conference of the Armenian General Benevolent Union and events dedicated to the 110th anniversary of the AGBU; being held in New York, New York.
During the conference, His Holiness Karekin II conveyed his blessings and message to the AGBU members.
“We are pleased to welcome the participants of the solemn event of the110th anniversary of the Armenian General Benevolent Union and convey to you our blessings and best wishes.
It brings me great joy, as the Armenian Pontiff, to once again reflect on the more than a century of activities of the AGBU. This national institution, strengthened through the devotion and efforts of the founder Boghos Nubar Pasha and the founding members, cast its charities in the life of the Armenians and today, true to its title, continues its important mission, adding to the 110 years of great achievements.
The AGBU has always been at the center of the essential needs in our national life, and responded to the demands of the time: supporting our nation’s children, through its established structures all around the world; serving for the consolidation of Armenians in the Diaspora; dedicating efforts to the education of a new generation; and caring for the well-being of our national and church life. In expanding its activities in the Diaspora, the AGBU has always remained near to the Homeland, supporting the efforts of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin directed to the AGBU restoration of the Church, and promoted and supported to the efficiency of its mission. During the Soviet times, the AGBU, especially in the person of the late Alex Manoogian, sought to keep alive the Diaspora connections to the Homeland and the Mother See. After the return of independent statehood, under the Chairmanship of his daughter, Ms. Louise Manoogian Simone; the AGBU made every effort to support our country and our people who were facing great challenges. With a vision of a prosperous and safe homeland, the AGBU made great contributions to the strengthening and development of Armenia and Artsakh, and appreciable contributions in the sponsorship of health, educational, cultural and youth-focused projects. Today, the AGBU, chaired by the honorable Mr. Berge Setrakian, undertakes good works for the benefit of our national and Patriotic life. We know our faithful and patriotic son as devotee of the charity mission, who for many years has made his contributions and efforts for the efficiency of the AGBU mission.
We are pleased to attest that during our spiritual service, we have been keenly aware of the activities of the Armenian General Benevolent Union. Being a member of the Central Board during the Vicarage of the Araratian Pontificial Diocese, we have witnessed the tireless and zealous activities of the volunteers of the AGBU, and the dedication and willingness to respond to national concerns. Many segments of the work of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, especially education and promotional initiatives, were implemented through the support of the AGBU and the commitments of its members. Many times, we have had the opportunity and joy to highly appreciate the honest contributions of the dedicated members of the AGBU and their service to our national and ecclesiastical life through our Pontifical encyclicals.
Dear devoted members of the AGBU, today also the Homeland needs the support of her children. The April events proved the high spirit and courage of our army, but also revealed the imperative need to strengthen the defense capacity of our native country. It is necessary that we support our homeland defenders, who are impenetrable standing on the borders of Armenia and Artsakh; support the strengthening of our army; help the soldiers and officers who need medical assistance and other aid. Dear ones, to resist against all challenges facing our national life, we must kee the spirit of charity alive.
We ask for God’s grace and blessings in your life and works. We pray that Lord richly blesses the mission of the Armenian General Benevolent Union, grants prosperity to our people and Homeland, and brightness to our Apostolic Holy Church.
‘May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope” (Romans 15:13): Amen”, stated His Holiness.
On this occasion, His Holiness granted AGBU President Mr. Berge Setrakian the title “Knight of the Mother See” and Pontifical Medal, for the pious services rendered to the nation and the exceptional contribution made to the vibrancy of Holy Etchmiadzin.
The Catholicos Karekin II asked in prayer that the Lord always support and bless daily Mr. Setrakian and the patrioric and philanthropic Setrakian family.