His Grace Bishop Daniel Findikyan, the Primate of the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church in America, honored the invaluable contribution of Americans who helped Armenians during one of the darkest times in the nation’s history. “To commemorate the extraordinary contributions of a number of luminaries of this blessed country who by the heroic work of Near East foundation over 100 years ago in the aftermath of the first world war and the Armenian genocide brought extraordinary relief and welfare to hundreds of thousands of orphans and victims of that catastrophe. And in so doing provided for us today an example of the charity and generosity and courage to stand up for the highest values of humanity,” said His Grace Bishop Findikyan.

His Eminence Archbishop Anoushavan Tanielian, the Prelate of the Eastern Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church, noted the fact that the tradition of humanitarian activity upheld by Aurora is rooted deeply in the Armenian culture: “The people of Ararat have always promoted virtues and values of the foundations of peaceful progress of the creation. The Aurora Humanitarian Initiative, since its inception, has been recognized as an organization of Gratitude in Action. Its principle and goal have been very clear: to express our people’s gratitude to the world at large who unconditionally supported the survivors of the Armenian Genocide perpetrated in 1915 by the Ottoman Turks, as well as to highlight the legacy of contemporary heroes from all corners of the world.”

Nurhan Becidyan, the representative of His Excellency The Most Reverend Mikael Mouradian, Bishop of the Armenian Catholic Eparchy in the USA and Canada, urged people worldwide to step up and act for peace: “We join our voice to those of our brothers and sisters in the beloved Motherland Armenia and Artsakh and to all people of good will, with an urgent appeal to the international community and the great powers to intervene for an immediate cessation of the hostilities and aggressions and to achieve the resolution of the conflict by peaceful dialogue and negotiations. Regardless all the darkness that war causes, we, Armenians, continue to strive for peace and hold dearly to the dignity and value of Human life.”

Reverend Joseph Garabedian, the Pastor of Armenian Presbyterian Church, Paramus, New Jersey, followed up with a call for peace and compassion. “We have gathered in the spirit of thankfulness and in the spirit of asking for peace from our Lord. <…> Today, as we pray for peace, as we pray in thankfulness to Lord our God, we come together grateful that we’re alive, grateful that God has given us an opportunity to gather freely in this nation and to be able to pray for our beloved brothers and sisters on the frontlines of Artsakh and Armenia,” said Reverend Garabedian.

With basic human values at its core, the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative spreads compassion and solidarity globally and has already changed the lives of almost 1 million people. On October 19, 2020, Aurora will begin commemorating its fifth anniversary with a live event broadcast at 6:55 pm local time from the New York Public Library in New York City. For more details about the live event broadcast on October 19, visit auroraprize.com and follow us on social media.

Top photo, from left to right: His Eminence Archbishop Anoushavan Tanielian; Reverend Joseph Garabedian; Nurhan Becidyan, the representative of His Excellency The Most Reverend Mikael Mouradian; His Grace Bishop Daniel Findikyan. St Vartan Cathedral, NYC, October 16, 2020