February 25, 2014 - 10:03 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - On an official visit to the United States, His Grace Bishop Armash Nalbandian, Primate of the Armenian Church of Damascus, along with other Syrian Christian officials, met with several Armenian American leaders and elected officials in Southern California, to discuss the plight of Syria’s Christians in light of the recent political uprisings, Massis Post reports.
Bishop Nalbandian participated in a lecture organized by the Executive Committee of the Syrian Armenian Relief Fund (SARF) and attended the opening ceremony of a cultural exhibit entitled “A Country Called Syria.”
Members of the Central Committee of the Social Democrat Hunchakian Party, along with members of the SDHP Executive Committee Western USA Region, Armenian Council of America (ACA), Armenian Educational Benevolent Union, Armenian Athletic Association (Homenmen), Nor Serount (New Generation) Cultural Association, Gaidz Youth Organization, civic leaders and guests hosted Bishop Nalbandian at a dinner reception at the Armenian Educational Benevolent Union center in Pasadena.
The Bishop, along with members of the Armenian Council of America, met with Representative Judy Chu (D-Pasadena). Bishop Nalbandian gave a general overview of the current situation and the medical, educational, and financial assistance being provided and the need for a peaceful diplomatic resolution to the Syrian conflict. Congresswoman Chu praised the bishop for his work and thanked him for bringing awareness to the Syrian cause. She also thanked the Armenian Council of America for coordinating the meeting enabling her to better understand the situation on the ground pledging her support to provide humanitarian aid to Syria.
Also, the ACA along with the Bishop met with California State Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian (D-Sherman Oaks). Assemblymember Nazarian stressed the importance of the worldwide Armenian community in their involvement in local government which will enable them to bring change to government policies they are so adamant about. The Assemblymember also pledged to bring awareness to the suffering of the Syrian Christians in the region and congratulated the Bishop’s efforts and all the hard work that he is doing in Syria.
Besides, Bishop Nalbandian along with the ACA delegation met with Los Angeles City Council Member Paul Krekorian at City Hall where the two discussed at length the situation in Syria.
Bishop Nalbandian was welcomed to the Los Angeles City Council Chambers by Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell and the Los Angeles City Council. After a brief introduction by Councilmember O’Farrell, the Bishop addressed the City Council on the plight of the declining Christian population of Syria due to the civil war there and requested support to bring peace to the country and its people. The Bishop, emphasizing the importance for the international community to realize that Syria is not just a Muslim country and that not all Muslims are terrorists, the vast majority of the Syrian people adhere to peace and that any resolution to the conflict should be done so through peaceful diplomatic means.
Lastly, the Bishop along with the ACA delegation met with Assemblymember Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles). The Assemblymember stressed the need for the local Armenian American communities to engage their elected officials and convey their concerns regarding Syria. The Assemblymember also expressed his gratitude towards the Bishop and all his efforts, reiterating his support to find specific methods in providing financial relief to Syrian civilians, specifically Christians who have been persecuted as a result of the conflict.
The Bishop thanked the Armenian Council of America and its members for their hard work in organizing the meetings with a large array of elected officials in a substantially short period of time. He expressed his assurance that the ACA will continue championing efforts that will not only help the Armenian communities of Syria, but also other Christian and non-Christians alike.