SARF Hosts “Recovery and Rebuilding” Benefit Dinner

On the evening of Wednesday, December 13, 2017, the Syrian Armenian Relief Fund (SARF) hosted a fundraising dinner in support of the recovery and rebuilding of the Armenian community in Syria, and especially in Aleppo. The dinner, which was held at Chevy Chase Country Club in Glendale, featured guest of honor H.
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E. Archbishop Shahan Sarkissian, Prelate of Aleppo and President of the Syrian-Armenian Recovery and Rehabilitation Committee. Guests included leaders and representatives of the Armenian Apostolic, Catholic, and Evangelical Churches, leaders and members of Armenian political parties and community organizations, California State Senator Anthony Portantino, Glendale City Councilmember Zareh Sinanyan, sponsors, and members and friends of SARF.

H.E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate, attended and delivered his message. He was joined by Vicar General Very Rev. Fr. Torkom Donoyan, Clergy, and Religious and Executive Council members.

The program began with welcoming remarks by SARF Executive Committee Secretary Mrs. Sona Madarian, who recognized the honored guests in attendance. SARF Executive Committee Chairman Mr. Raffi Kendirjian expressed gratitude to the religious leaders and community organizations for their moral and financial support over the past six years, thanked all past and present SARF members for their service, and expressed special thanks to Archbishop Sarkissian, whose presence “inspires and emboldens us” he stated.

The program featured musical performances, poetry recitation, and students reading letters written by their fellow students in Aleppo.

The Prelate greeted the guests who had gathered to express solidarity and support for our brothers and sisters in Syria, and in particular greeted the presence of Archbishop Sarkissian, stating, “We are here to assure the Armenian community in Syria that we were by their side throughout the critical years of the war, and we are with them today as they begin the arduous task of rebuilding.” The Prelate evoked the story of Job and the faith and hope that he exhibited throughout his hardships, stating that the Armenians in Aleppo too did not lose faith or hope in the past six years and will now embark on the long road to recovery and rebuilding together with our assistance.

Next, guests viewed a video presentation titled “We will rebuild” on the current situation in Aleppo.

The evening’s keynote address was delivered by Archbishop Sarkissian, who began by expressing his appreciation for the love and support exhibited toward the Armenians of Syria and his gratitude to the religious and lay leaders and community members of the Western United States who provided the lion’s share of relief aid through SARF. “I came not to give a lecture, but to testify to the survival, resolve, and resilience of the Armenians of Aleppo,” stressed Archbishop Sarkissian, who went on to say that physical structured were destroyed but the will of the people to survive, to persist, and to rebuild could not be destroyed thanks to faith and unity. The Prelate of Aleppo gave an overview of the reorganization, recovery, and rebuilding efforts taking place in the past 10-11 months since the liberation of Aleppo, stating that the process of reconstructing homes, businesses, and schools is already underway, with the rebuilding of churches and the Prelacy to follow. Archbishop Sarkissian expressed confidence that the community’s revival will succeed with continued collective efforts, and concluded by once again thanking the community of the Western United States for its most valuable support.

Mr. Raffi Kendirjian and former Chairman Mr. John Titizian presented plaques to Archbishop Sarkissian for his devoted and courageous leadership, and to Ani and Narod Memorial Foundation President Mr. Raffi Ardhaldjian for assistance provided to Syrian-Armenian refugee families in Armenia.

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