Church of the Brethren general secretary David Steele has sent a pastoral letter to the Armenian community following the Azerbaijan attack against Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) which forced the Armenian population to flee the area. The letter was sent to Archbishop Vicken Aykazian on behalf of the Armenian Church of America, the global Armenian Orthodox fellowship, and the Armenian community worldwide, with particular attention to the Armenian members and attenders within the Church of the Brethren.
The full text of the letter follows:
His Eminence Archbishop Vicken Aykazian
Ecumenical Director and Diocesan Legate
Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern)
630 Second Avenue
New York, NY 10016
Dear Archbishop Aykazian,
Warmest greetings to you, to the Armenian Church of America, to the global Armenian Orthodox fellowship, to the Armenian community worldwide, with particular attention to the Armenian members and attenders within the Church of the Brethren.
During this Armenian Cultural Month of October, and this 125th anniversary year of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America, please receive congratulations from the Church of the Brethren.
Please also receive our expressions of deep care and concern during this dark time for the Armenian people following the Azerbaijan attack against Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh). Please know that the Church of the Brethren continues to stand with the Armenian people now as we have for more than 100 years since 1917, when our church first began providing aid to survivors and refugees of the Armenian Genocide.
The Church of the Brethren joins in appealing to the international community at this time when the Armenian people have again suffered violence, displacement, dispossession, and ethnic cleansing. Our church joins in expressing concern to the international community for the situation of those who have been forced to flee from Artsakh to Armenia and elsewhere, losing loved ones, homes, and livelihoods.
Archbishop Aykazian, your statement in a World Council of Churches press release touched our hearts, and our church also joins with you in the grief and pain of renewed memories of the historic tragedies endured by the Armenian people.
The Church of the Brethren prays that, at this crucial time, God surrounds the Armenian people with protection and lifts up prayers to the Almighty for the future of the Armenian people and your unique ancient culture.
To the Armenian members and attenders of the Church of the Brethren, caring and love is extended to each person and family. May the love of God and the comfort of the Holy Spirit be constantly present and may our church help to assuage this grief and loss, and the fear that has resurfaced.
In the name of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace,
Church of the Brethren
1451 Dundee Avenue
Elgin, IL 60120
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