Armenia remains a crucial intersection of east-west and north-south where both Russians and Americans feel at ease. With its millennia of civilization, it has honed a skilled population.
Had we preserved three basic values: integrity, humility and fraternity, Armenia would currently have a population of eight million, including two million foreign expatriates who would migrate to Armenia, much like they do to Dubai to leverage the favorable economic conditions.
Armenia would have radiated its culture, and have served as a pivotal economic hub, including hosting gas and oil pipelines.
Still, we will revive and get restored.
Read here the open letter addressed to Nation’s bright minds and leading powers.
In 1664, Jean-Baptiste Colbert, King Louis XIV of France’s Minister of State, founded the “La Compagnie des Indes”, a company trading in diamonds and precious stones, and appointed Macara Avanchinz, an Armenian from New Julfa, as the director. Indeed, since the 11th century Armenians were trusted traders in Europe, operating the Silk Road between Asia and Europe. In the 12th century, Armenian merchants accounted for 10% of the population of Venice which was then the business hub of Europe, as Hong Kong or Dubai are today.
In India, Armenians were called “Merchant Princes”. Among these Indian Armenian princes, Lord Paul Khachik Chater was the principal architect of the “gem” of the British throne, Hong Kong. Orphaned at eight, he built an empire from nothing. Lord Chater established great charities, thanks to which Kolkata’s St. Nazareth Armenian Church and the Philanthropic Academy still stand in his birthplace. Apart from supporting Calcutta and Mother See of Holy Echmiadzin, Lord Chater contributed to the French La Martiniere schools he attended. The students of La Martiniere schools continue the tradition of assembling every morning to offer their prayers for the peace of Paul Chater’s soul. Other notable Armenians include Calouste Gulbenkian who had the trust of the British and built an oil empire, and Kirk Kerkorian, the “architect” of Las Vegas.․․
Armenia remains a crucial intersection of east-west and north-south where both Russians and Americans feel at home. Millennia of civilization have honed a skilled population adept at flexible negotiations, both with Easterners and Westerners, Arabs, and Persians. In this context, Armenia should currently have had a population of eight million, including two million foreign expatriates who would migrate to Armenia, much like they do to Dubai, to leverage the favorable economic conditions. Armenia should have radiated its culture, have acted as a mediator between Russia and Ukraine, Iran and Saudi Arabia, and have served as a pivotal economic hub, including hosting gas and oil pipelines.
So, how did it happen that, from the highly regarded glory of the past, we currently find ourselves in this terrible, pitiful state? It is important to have a proper diagnosis before seeking a remedy.
The Book of Laws
Josiah was 8 years old when he became king of the Hebrews. In the eighteenth year of his rule, he ordered his secretary Shaphan to get the Lord’s temple renovated.
During the repairs, the workers found the “Book of Laws” in the temple and handed it over to Shaphan, who took it and read it out loud before the king.
As soon as the king heard what the Instructions the scrolls gave, he ripped his clothes and said: “The Lord must be furious with us because our ancestors failed to obey the words of these scrolls.
The king then sent a message, and all of the country’s elders gathered before him. Then the king went up to the Lord’s temple, together with the priests and all the people of the city, young and old alike. There the king read out loud all the words of the Book of the Laws scrolls that had been found. The king stood beside the pillar and made a covenant with the Lord that he would follow the Lord by keeping his commandments, his laws, and his regulations with all his heart and all his being in order to fulfill the words of this covenant that were written in the scrolls. All of the people accepted the covenant.” (2 Kings 22)
This is why we are in this terrible situation.
We have lost our compass, our “Book of Laws”, in both the Homeland and Diaspora. Here we are not talking about faith or religion, but about values which set the foundation for the Armenian identity of trustworthiness and a good reputation, as mentioned above. What distinguishes atheists of Jewish and Muslim backgrounds, if not the values and cultural heritage transmitted to them by their parents which often have their sources in their respective Books. Also, the Armenian values and cultural heritage which shaped David the Invincible, Anania Shiragatsi, Nerses Shnorhali and others, are also inspired by our “Book of Laws”.
Apart from values, there are also wise words in our “Book of Laws” which, unfortunately, we have lost.
- For lack of guidance a nation falls, but victory is won through many advisers. (Proverbs 11:14)
- For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him. (Luke 14:28)
- Suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won’t he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for peace. (Luke 14:31)
Among the repercussions of the above-mentioned collapse of values is the deep faults dividing our nation. Our structures are dividing. You are either Anteliasagan or Etchmiyadznagan. You are either with AGBU or ARF. You cannot be both; and if you are on one side, you oppose the other.
Yet without these structures in place during and immediately after the Armenian Genocide, the existence of the Diaspora would be in question. Nevertheless, it is now imperative for us to come together, gather around the same table, and collaborate both in the homeland and in the Diaspora.
If not today, then when?
Now the Lord says this to the Church of Laodicea:
“I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm-neither hot nor cold-I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. Those I love, I rebuke and discipline. Therefore, be earnest and repent. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” (Revelation 3:15-18)
The testimony of unity and brotherly love must originate from among the guardians of our values and heritage, and from there, permeate all levels of society.
Hence, I call upon our four Church leaders to get together in Yerevan, “gather the country’s elders, priests and the people, young and old alike and say ’The Lord has been furious with us because we and our ancestors failed to obey the words of the Book of Law’.”
I call on you to become living examples yourselves of fraternity and serving in humility, as did Jesus, who was born in a stable and went into Jerusalem on a donkey, not on a horse. The washing of the dirty feet of the disciples by Jesus himself was not just a ceremony, but a commandment of humility and service.
I beg you to call for repentance. “vow and ask the people to vow to follow the commandments, laws and rules of the Lord, with all their heart and all their being”. (1Kings 2:3)
I call upon our intellectuals, educators, politicians, philanthropist, and entrepreneurs who have their input in Armenia, to take on more responsibility, of getting together, putting aside their personal agendas, to speak in a single voice. Once confidence is established with the government, support it with all their might to secure the sustainability of our homeland, and make themselves available as the much-needed counselors.
I call upon the Prime Minister to unify the Nation, for “Every Nation divided against itself is brought to desolation and every city divided against itself will not stand” (Mathew 12:25), not be “wise to his own eyes”, and publicly accept counseling, for “Where there is no counsel, the Nation falls, but victory is won in an abundance of counselors.”
Today, do Armenian children pray for a national figure? And unfortunately, the last prince Kirk Krikorian, instead of “making a whip and driving all from the temple courts“, he slammed the door with a loud cry, shouting “You turned my house into a den of robbers.“
In simple words, if we had preserved three moral values: integrity, humility, and fraternity, today Armenia would have preserved its rightful position.
Our situation is not fatal. We must revive and get restored. I have one request, sisters and brothers, spiritual fathers, educators, intellectuals, politicians, and entrepreneurs, let us be the full-fledged heirs of Nerses Shnorhali, Davit Anhaght, Anania Shirakatsi, and lead the revival.
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment. Never lack in zeal, but serve in spiritual fervor, if it is possible, live at peace with everyone”.
If not now, then when?