Over the past several days–the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of America has received a number of concerned inquiries regarding the status of Armenian communities in the Holy Land. His Eminence Archbishop Khajag Barsamian–the Diocesan Primate–wishes to update the public about the present situation.
The Diocesan Center in New York has been in regular contact with the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem–and will continue to contact it by telephone on a daily basis.
As of this writing on April 3rd–there have been no casualties among the local Armenian community. Jerusalem’s Old City–and particularly the St. James Monastery and the Armenian Quarter–are safe.
A number of Armenian families live in Bethlehem–currently the site of a tense standoff at the Church of the Holy Nativity. The Patriarchate informs us that two vartabeds–Fr. Razmig and Fr. Khat–and a number of employees remain in the town’s Armenian monastery–which is attached to the Church of the Holy Nativity. Although they cannot leave the premises–they have sufficient supplies laid in. aThe Patriarchate has kept in constant contact with them–as telephone lines are still operating.
Leaders of the local religious orders–including the Armenian Patriarch–His Beatitude Archbishop Torkom Manoogian–have urged both sides in the conflict not to turn the most holy site in Bethlehem into a battlefield.
The Eastern Diocese will continue to provide updates on this matter. As always–we convey our appreciation to the faithful for their expressions of concern–and we request that they continue to offer prayers for peace in the region.