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2024 Message of His Holiness Catholicos Aram I Of The Great House Of Cilicia

To the Prelates of the Prelacies,

The Clergy,

and the Community Leaders

of the Catholicosate of the Great House of Cilicia,

and to the daughters and sons of our people:


On the eve of 2024, with fatherly love, patriarchal blessings, and intense patriotic

feelings, we greet the beloved daughters and sons of our people from the Monastery of the

Catholicosate of the Great House of Cilicia. We greet especially our Prelates, Community

Leaders, the organizations and associations that are active in the Armenian community, as

well as community, educational, charitable, cultural, social, and sports structures, and we

wish them all a year of new achievements. We pray to Most High God, that the New Year

that begins with His Son’s becoming man and His revelation, will be full of heavenly riches

and grace for our people.


***


As is well-known to the daughters and sons of our people, since 2003 we have dedicated

each year to an event, development, value, or concern in our collective life. We have made

the necessary analysis and highlights within each topic, and then we have conveyed our

fatherly suggestions to our people. Often, we have stressed that the church with its essence

and calling is a mission directed to the people. Indeed, the teachings of Christ are not

theoretical or casual; they have direct relevance for the life of the people. Today, too, the

church is called to invite its spiritual flock to address concerns and challenges that have

direct import to their lives. At the same time, it is the church's mission is to make the

necessary indications for the sake of the vitality of the spiritual, moral, and national values.

This is the purpose of our patriarchal proclamations. We want to express with satisfaction

that the published proclamations have been the object of ample examination in our collective


life and, in light of the concerns and the suggestions expressed in them, the daughters and

sons of our people have been driven to review and reassess their individual and community

life.


As you know, the years 2022 and 2023 were dedicated to the Diaspora, declaring 2022

the Year of the Diaspora, and 2023, the Year of the Diaspora: From Self-Examination to

Reorganization. Our decision to focus on the Diaspora for two consecutive years. The

formation and development of the Diaspora has its own pace of evolution, and it has always

been subject to the influence of external circumstances and those of its setting. Today, the

Diaspora faces serious challenges. In view of the penetration of the global culture into the

Armenian life, the retreat of national values, the degradation of the Armenian language, and

other critical problems, the rehabilitation and reorganization of the Diaspora have become

an urgent imperative.


In 2022, in the two declarations dedicated to Shiphrah,we made the following

confirmation: “In the Diaspora, the Armenian identity is exposed to rapid attrition. Our

structures have begun to lose their relevance. Hence, the revitalization of the Diaspora is a

mandatory task in the light of the circumstances and conditions of our present life.” And in

2023, we made the following comment regarding the structures of the Diaspora: “The

Diaspora has an enormous potential in terms of culture, religion, economy, expertise,

relations, and experience. Here, adaptation and assimilation, however, or indifference and

oblivion there have begun to drain the potential of Armenian life. In fact, the Diaspora has

not been able to hold on to its vigor and use it correctly and fully. In this sense, efforts have

been made by a number of organizations both in Armenia and the Diaspora, but they have

been partial and circumstantial. The organization and utilization of the potential of the

Diaspora is required. Such an initiative requires collective and consistent work.”

In the two abovementioned proclamations, after identifying the challenges faced by the

communities and structures of the Diaspora, we emphasized that the lack of human resources in every area of Armenian life has begun to make itself felt. In other words, in every community, the number of people who are experts, experienced, and accountable has begun to decrease gradually. This is a deeply disturbing development, both because of its global import in the Diaspora and its unpredictable consequences. Indeed, human resources

strengthen the Armenian-centric existence of the Diaspora, preserve its national identity, and

give it quality and direction; human resources that are intellectually and psychologically

prepared, have acquired expertise, and are fully devoted. With this deep conviction, we -

declare 2024,


THE YEAR OF HUMAN RESOURCES PREPARATION

***

The Bible reminds us that on the sixth day of the creation of the universe, He created

man (Genesis 1:26-27, 2:7). The creation of man was different from that of the other

creatures of the universe not only because of its timing and nature, but also its purpose. The

Bible testifies that the man created in the “image of God” was called to be the caretaker of

Creation, its defender, and the one who would enrich it (Genesis 1:28-30); in other words,

God’s "collaborator" (1 Corinthians 3:9-17). What a sacred calling! But man betrayed his

God-given calling, abused his privilege by using it for his pleasure and glory, and because

of his disloyalty he was expelled from Paradise (Genesis 3).


However, God always kept watch over the sinful man. God took his Only Begotten Son

into the world to draw near to his Heavenly Father the man who had distanced himself. The

Son of God became man, and he even shed his blood to reestablish man in his divine image

and God-given devotion. This is the purpose and message of the Bible, the revelation of God.


The Bible stresses with particular importance man's special place and unique role in the

divine revelation and plan. Indeed, by way of different parables, events, and teachings, in

the Bible we see the fatherly love and care shown by God to man, even sinful man. Thus,

for example, when the shepherd abandons his 99 sheep to seek the stray one (Matthew 18:11-14); when the father welcomes his prodigal son with open arms (Luke 15:11–32). The Bible emphasizes that man and woman are a value for God. However, the value of man is not merely in his physical existence, but in his faithfulness and obedience to God.

All religions and civilizations have devoted a special attention to man as a thinking,

acting, ruling, and enriching reality in the life of society with his creative spirit. For ancient5

philosophers, psychologists, and sociologists, man has been the object of serious analysis

and continues to be so in the present world ruled by technology. The history of nations

reveals that man is behind every achievement, discovery, and innovation. How critical is the

role of man in the universe and the life of society! Countries, communities, societies, and

organizations develop, progress, and grow not only with their wealth, political or military

advantages and power, but with the human resources that create, govern, and defend them.

***


We have pointed out, and we will again stress it, that there is a lack of human resources

in Armenian life. Unfortunately, we often lack the courage and the wisdom to see and accept

our shortcomings, our omissions, and. We are inclined to see everything through rose-

colored glasses, to cover up errors, or to look elsewhere for the causes of wrongs. Religious

ethics, as well as popular wisdom, that accepting errors covers half the road to success. A

general overview of our communities, organizations, and structures clearly shows that the

lack of human resources increasingly deepens and grows, and the various and negative -

consequences of that become obvious. It is unacceptable to be indifferent to this disturbing

situation. We all have something to do and give to address this major need in Diaspora life.

We must know well that without human resources, our lives will stagnate and fade, and the

roots of our existence will be weakened. The preparation of human resources is an urgent

priority.


Why is there a lack of human resources in the life of the Diaspora? What are the reasons?

It is necessary to ask such questions and try to find answers with an objective approach. In

the sense of human resources, the Armenian life today shows the following picture: first, the

current human resources we have, generally does not correspond to the needs and demands

of the present times; second, an important part of our human resources are on the margins of Armenian life or far from Armenian life.

PRESENT INVOLVEMENT OF HUMAN RESOURCES IN ARMENIAN LIFE


The first important step in the reorganization and empowerment of the people should be

to involve our human resources, who are far from the mainstream of Armenian life.

Let us look around for a moment. It is true that we have specialists in many fields, but

many of them are far from our lives. We have educated young people, but many do not

participate in the activities of our structures. We have devoted teachers, but many work in

non-Armenian educational institutions. The enumeration of human resources who are

outside Armenian life for one reason or the other can go on and on... In the face of this sad

reality, one must ask why an important part of our human resources have moved away from

our community life. The questions should lead us to a diagnosis, and the diagnosis, to

remedies. In every case, our approach should be realistic, not emotional; practical, not

theoretical; specific, not general. We must consider the geopolitical circumstances of every

region of the Diaspora and the internal movements that often occur because of them, the

decline of some communities for economic reasons and the growth of other ones, the

transformation of their character, the differences in their surroundings, etc. All these

developments should be valued in the light of the global culture that has permeated Armenian life. Naturally, the abovementioned events have had a negative impact on the displacement of human resources from Armenian life and the migration from one community to another


In addition to the above-mentioned external factors, internal and personal reasons have

also driven some people away from our community life. Thus, we may mention the

indifference sometimes shown by the local leadership or sometimes partial positions on

issues affecting the community, rivalry among structures, incompatible approaches by the

old and new generations, the lack of proper and worthy appreciation of human resources, as

well as the wishes of opening wider horizons and securing a higher material income, etc.

In the face of this worrying phenomenon, we do not want to blame either those who stay

away or the structures or people responsible for that. We want to stress firmly that, more

than ever, it is imperative that the human resources who are far from Armenian life for

different reasons should come closer to Armenian life, become a participant in our collective

experiences, debates, plans, and activities. We expect this firm determination and conscious

commitment from those who stay away. At the same time, we expect responsible bodies to

create wide opportunities for our human resources and especially young people, involving

them in our structures and Armenian life in general. Our human resources are dear and

respectable to us. Therefore, it is not acceptable for our people to knock on other people's

doors, to serve others, to put their expertise and experience at the service for others' success.


For us, the priority, the main thing, the permanent thing is our nation, our Armenian

homeland, our communities.

NEW HUMAN RESOURCES PREPARATION


The second important step in the organization and empowerment of human resources

should be the preparation of new human resources. This plan is not feasible to implement

easily, speedily, and immediately. We must be realistic. The preparation of human resources

presupposes a long-lasting process, complete dedication, serious organization, consistent

work, as well as a large material investment. Look around you. States, religions,

organizations, and structures carry out a huge amount of work and make a great contribution, materially or otherwise, for human resources training. Indeed, without a conscious, specialized, and dedicated person, what we have, from the material to the spiritual spheres, and from the educational to the political ones, has no value. Man is the one who gives it value, meaning, quality, direction, and purpose.


The time has come now for us, starting from this awareness and determination, to focus

our attention in the Diaspora on the preparation of human resources, fully utilizing our

potential and resources. Human resources preparation means to inculcate spiritual, moral,

and national values into Armenians, to acquaint them with the special events, figures, and

challenges of the past and present of our nation, to give them the possibilities to delve into

the specialties of the present world, and above all this and giving meaning to all of this, to

instill the spirit of serving our people with complete dedication, to bring their active

participation into Armenian life.


How can the Diaspora be driven to training human resources with an organized approach

and renewed momentum? We must keep in mind that the preparation of human resources is not only the work of a given structure, but it is a collective endeavor and a continuous

process, involving various stages and initiatives. We want to briefly point out those

structures and resources that can bring an important contribution to the mission of human

resources preparation.


1) The main and lasting anchor of a person's preparation is the FAMILY. The solid

foundation of the formation of an Armenian person is laid within the family. We learn a lot

from our parents by listening and seeing. It is not only knowledge about our nation that we

learn from our parents, but also and especially the spirit of being a conscious and proud

Armenian and the dedication to serve our nation, homeland, and church unconditionally.

Hence, it is necessary for the Armenian family to emphasize its unique role in the preparation of human resources. To carry out this very important mission with dedication, the Armenian family must stay away from circumstances that can degrade its moral atmosphere and Armenian character and debase its high calling.


2) The second place of human preparation is the CHURCH. The church is the storage

furnace of our spiritual, moral and national values and the source of revitalization. Many of

the elders of our nation have immersed themselves in the life and testimony of the church

and received the zeal and commitment to serve the nation and the motherland from the

church. Through various pre-initiatives (Sunday school, Holy Cross service, popular

audiences, Christian teaching, etc.) it is necessary for our church to fulfill its spiritual mission

and national service. In addition, he also gave a boost to his teaching and educational work.


3) The goal of our Holy See SEMINARY continues to be the formation of clergy,

teachers, and intellectuals imbued with spiritual values and called to serve the nation and the church. In this sense, the Seminary has done a great job in the last decades. Indeed, the presence of many people who have passed through the Seminary and have made important contributions to the spiritual, educational, and cultural aspects of our national life in Armenia and the Diaspora is an eloquent testimony to the Seminary's singular mission.


4) THE ARMENIAN SCHOOL is naturally one of the most important structures in the

preparation of human resources. Unfortunately, some indifference towards the Armenian

school has begun to emerge today among certain parents. With its successful record in

official examinations, with the Armenian education it offers and its Armenian nation-

building atmosphere, the Armenian school greatly contributes to the preparation of human

resources. Therefore, it is necessary to emphasize the formative mission of the Armenian

school, supporting its programs that contribute to it.


5) ALL STRUCTURES that are active within Armenian life—political, charitable,

cultural, sports, social, and others—are, in their own way, special schools for the preparation

of human resources. Indeed, their internal atmosphere full of national and cultural values, as

well as their voluntary work to serve the needs of our communities, contributes to the

preparation of human resources. There are Armenians who, for different reasons, have not

attended Armenian schools, but by being part of community organizations, they have

acquired an ample knowledge of Armenian life and the spirit of serving the nation has taken

root in them.


6) ARMENIAN COURSES have a significant role in the development of human

resources. Today, in fact, the only organized Armenian Studies Center in the Diaspora8

operates within the Catholicosate. We also must remember the Armenian Studies courses at

the Karen Jeppe School in Aleppo and the Haigazian University. After 15 years of

organizational development, the Armenian Studies Center of the Catholicosate operates in a

more organized and self-confident manner, offering a wide range of subjects and the

presence of experienced teachers invited from Armenia and the Diaspora.


7) The PEDAGOGICAL CENTER that operates within the Catholicosate, which trains

teachers with new pedagogical methods, is of particular importance within this field. In more

than 35 years of activity and the successes it has achieved in state examinations, it has shown that its extensive work in the field of pedagogical training remains key.


8) Apart from the above-mentioned community structures for the preparation of human

resources, we consider UNIVERSITY EDUCATION an essential and complementary part

of human preparation. Today’s world is a world of specialization. In fact, there is no longer

a place for an amateurish approach to issues, developments, crises, and plans in all aspects

of society's life. As much as dedication and preparation are necessary, specialization is just

as necessary. Currently, universities and higher education centers, as well as the number of

opportunities, have multiplied. In the light of the many resources offered by technology,

university education has become more accessible, if not materially, in terms of time and

work. Our young men and women who are eager to learn must profit as much as possible

from the benefits offered by higher and professional university education.


Naturally, living in different conditions, we cannot expect the new generation to pass

through the mentioned milestones of human resources formation. Self-study also gives an

opportunity and can have its important contribution in the formation of a person. In all cases,it is imperative that the young Armenian men and women, imbued with spiritual, moral, and national values and armed with professional education, make themselves valuable in Armenian life, putting their education in the service of the development and empowerment of our nation. The Diaspora urgently needs human resources. Therefore, the preparation of human resources for the Diaspora should become a priority.


PRACTICAL RECOMMENDATIONS


We would like to make the following practical recommendations following the

concerns, possibilities, and points we have stressed regarding human resources preparation:


1) Despite the difficult conditions and limited resources of the Diaspora, huge work has

been done in the field of human resources preparation. We express our high appreciation to

all those dedicated to the sacred mission of educational formation and Armenian nation-

building. The time has come for a more inclusive, coordinated, and updated work by the

structures devoted to human resources training in our community life. In this sense, it is

essential that special planning work be done with the participation of the leaders of these

structures, to avoid duplication and omissions.


2) We see an urgent need for the gathering of human resources within the communities.

The gathering can be done in two stages. The first one involves the human resources

participating in the community, and in the second stage, the human resources that have

remained outside the community get involved.


3) It is necessary to organize all necessary gatherings based on a clear agenda. It is

necessary to listen to the points of view, concerns, and suggestions of those present, and then together determine a common direction for the empowerment of the community, specifying the priorities and dividing the work.


4) Special attention must be paid to the participation of young men and women,

especially university students and graduates.


5) On certain occasions and even regularly, it is necessary to organize gatherings that

bring together the community’s human resources, to discuss general plans that pertain the

community as well as concerns and challenges that concern the Diaspora and the Armenian

nation.


6) A comprehensive list of a community’s human resources is essential. It should include

basic information to make it adaptable for use in other communities and have a

comprehensive picture of human resources in the Diaspora.


7) The executive bodies of prelacies, political parties, educational, youth, cultural,

charitable, and other organizations are advised to take active part in the above-mentioned

important works.


8) As we mentioned, the preparation of human resources also requires material

commitment. In this collective effort, our wealthy fellow Armenians should feel obliged to

make an important contribution in this direction, by establishing funds or by allocating

annual benefits, in general, to programs devoted to human preparation and in particular to

those structures that serve the same purpose.


9) Our prelacies and structures should allocate an important place on the agenda of their

activities to initiatives and activities related to human resources training.

It will be the task of our human resources to conceive, plan, and execute the work of

reorganizing and revitalizing the Diaspora. This is how important human resources are for

us and, therefore, how imperative and urgent is the preparation of human resources.

With these thoughts and expectations, we greet you with warm fatherly love, and we

assure you that the Catholicosate of the Great House of Cilicia is always ready to support

and participate in the sacred mission of human resources preparation.

With patriarchal blessings,


Prayerfully,

ARAM I, CATHOLICOS

GREAT HOUSE OF CILICIA

January 1, 2024

Antelias, Lebanon

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