Monday, 31 October 2016

Armenian News ... A Topalian Christ's Burial Place Exposed
Exclusive: Christ's Burial Place Exposed for First Time 
in Centuries
By Kristin Romey

Restorers working in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre 
in Israel uncover stone slab venerated as the burial couch 
of Christ. 
The shrine that houses the traditional burial place of 
Jesus Christ is undergoing restoration inside the Church 
of the Holy Sepulchre 
in Jerusalem. 

See attachment for a London Fund-raising event on 11 November
For the first time in centuries, scientists have exposed the original surface of what is traditionally considered the tomb of Jesus Christ. Located in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the Old City of Jerusalem, the tomb has been covered by marble cladding since at least 1555 A.D., and most likely centuries earlier. 

"The marble covering of the tomb has been pulled back, and we were surprised by the amount of fill material beneath it,” said Fredrik Hiebert, archaeologist-in-residence at the National Geographic Society, a partner in the restoration project. “It will be a long scientific analysis, but we will finally be able to see the original rock surface on which, according to tradition, the body of Christ was laid." 

According to Christian tradition, the body of Jesus Christ was laid on a shelf or “burial bed” hewn from the side of a limestone cave following his crucifixion by the Romans in A.D. 30 or possibly 33. Christian belief says Christ was resurrected after death, and women who came to anoint his body three days after the burial reported that no remains were present. 

This burial shelf is now enclosed by a small structure known as the Edicule (from the Latin aedicule , or "little house"), which was last reconstructed in 1808-1810 after being destroyed in a fire. The Edicule and the interior tomb are currently undergoing restoration by a team of scientists from the National Technical University of Athens, under the direction of Chief Scientific Supervisor Professor Antonia Moropoulou. 

The exposure of the burial bed is giving researchers an unprecedented opportunity to study the original surface of what is considered the most sacred site in Christianity. An analysis of the original rock may enable them to better understand not only the original form of the tomb chamber, but also how it evolved as the focal point of veneration since it was first identified by Helena, mother of the Roman emperor Constantine, in A.D. 326. 

"We are at the critical moment for rehabilitating the Edicule," Moropoulou said. "The techniques we're using to document this unique monument will enable the world to study our findings as if they themselves were in the tomb of Christ." 

The doors to the church were shut early—hours before normal closing time, leaving a bewildered crowd of pilgrims and tourists standing in front of the towering wooden doors. Inside, a scrum of conservators in yellow hard hats, Franciscans in simple brown robes, Greek orthodox priests in tall black hats, and Copts in embroidered hoods surrounded the entrance to the Edicule, peering into its reaches. Rising above all of them was the façade of the early 19th-century shrine, its elaborate carvings obscured by iron beams and orange safety tape. 

Inside the tomb, which usually glows with a faint constellation of wax candles, bright construction lighting filled the small cell, revealing tiny details that are usually overlooked. The marble slab that covers the holy bench—roughly 3 by 5 feet and carved from creamy marble—had been pulled away from the wall. Beneath it was a grey-beige stone surface. What is it? a conservator was asked. "We don’t know yet," she replied. "It's time to bring in the scientific monitoring tools." 

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre (also known as the Church of the Resurrection) is currently under the custody of six Christian sects. Three major groups—the Greek Orthodox Church, the Roman Catholic Church, and the Armenian Orthodox Church—maintain primary control over the site, and the Coptic, Ethiopian Orthodox, and Syriac communities also have a presence there. Parts of the church that are considered common areas of worship for all of the sects, including the tomb, are regulated by a Status Quo agreement that requires the consent of all of the custodial churches.

Outside the Edicule, Thephilos III, the Greek Patriarch of Jerusalem, stood watching the events with a serene smile. "I'm glad that the atmosphere is special, there is a hidden joy," said the patriarch. "Here we have Franciscans, Armenians, Greeks, Muslim guards, and Jewish police officers. We hope and we pray that this will be a real message that the impossible can become the possible. We all need peace and mutual respect." 

Resurrecting a Sacred Shrine

The structural integrity of the early 19th-century Edicule has been a concern for decades. It suffered damage during a 1927 earthquake, and British authorities were forced to shore up the building in 1947 with unsightly exterior girders that remain to this day. Difficulties among the Status Quo representatives and a lack of financial resources have hindered its repair. 

In 2015, the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem, with the agreement of the other two major communities, invited the National Technical University of Athens (which had previously led restoration projects on the Athenian Acropolis and the Hagia Sophia) to study the Edicule. The communities of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre agreed to restore the structure in March 2016, with work to be completed by the spring of 2017. Major donors to the $4-million-plus project include a royal benefaction from Jordan's King Abdullah II, and $1.3-million gift from Mica Ertegun to the World Monuments Fund in support of the project.

The National Geographic Society, with the blessing of the Greek Patriarch of Jerusalem and the other religious communities, formed a strategic alliance with the National Technical University of Athens for cultural heritage preservation. For an exclusive look at the restoration project, watch Explorer on National Geographic Channel , coming in November.
Decision of electing Patriarch of Istanbul is an attempt 
to ease tension – Expert on Turkish Studies
28 October, 2016
The election of the Patriarch of Istanbul is not a historical, as it has been described by some experts, but rather it is a normal process which must have been done earlier, Expert on Turkish Studies Ruben Melkonyan told a press conference in “Armenpress”.

“The Supreme Church Council has made a decision to request the Turkish authorities to hold Patriarch elections, whereas, it could be done earlier. The undue delay of the election process cannot have any grounds. Patriarch Mesrop Mutafyan’s health deterioration is not new. His incurable disease has a several years of history, and during those years starting from 2008 the community was led by Patriarchal Vicar Aram Ateshyan. Unfortunately, he didn't solve a number of community issues during those years of leadership, moreover, new problems emerged”, Ruben Melkonyan said.

Melkonyan said the Armenians of Turkey do not have another organizational, governing body. The only structure that can present Armenians’ interests in the Turkish government bodies is the Armenian Patriarchate of Istanbul. He said the Patriarch is considered as leader.

“During those years there was a gap between the community and the Patriarchate. The community distanced from its main governing body. Aram Ateshyan’s activities caused a certain negative attitude among wide circles of Armenians”, he said.

To the question why at this stage it was decided to elect the Patriarch, Ruben Melkonyan brought two reasons. First reason is associated with the calls of the Holy See on holding elections. Second reason was related to Ateshyan’s reaction over the Bundestag decision on the Armenian Genocide, which aroused the anger of Armenians.

“The pressure that occurred in Armenia, Diaspora, I think, that became the reason for starting the Patriarch’s election process. This is an attempt of easing the tension to some extent”, Ruben Melkonyan said recalling that Arem Ateshyan has repeatedly announced that he is going to request the Turkish authorities over holding elections, but he hasn’t done it yet.

A decision has been made during the October 26 church meeting in the Armenian Patriarchate of Istanbul to request the Turkish authorities to grant a privilege of electing a new patriarch.
1000 families are still homeless in Spitak city (video)
October 28,2016 

Homelessness continues to be one of the unsolvable problems in Armenia’s Spitak city.

A total of 1000 families are still homeless in the city which was ravaged by the 1988 earthquake.

The Soviet Union compensated (in the Russian rouble) the families who lost housing in the 1988 earthquake but the citizens were unable to spend the money because their bank accounts were frozen.

What is the state doing today to solve the problem?

A1+ Company has talked to Gagik Sahakyan, Mayor of Spitak city.

“We have applied to the government and president of the country many times but so far we have received no reply from them. As long as the construction of state apartments is not finished, we shall not address the issue,” he said adding that the construction is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

Over 4000 people were killed in the massive earthquake that rocked Spitak city on December 7, 1988. Tens of thousands of people were left homeless in the result of the earthquake that measured to have a magnitude of 10 on the Richter scale.
Bread and potato make up 70% of the food 15% of Armenia’s 
population take daily
Sat, 29 Oct 2016 20:27:49 +0100 

Bread and potato make up 70% of the food 15% of Armenia’s population take each day. That causes numerous negative consequences, fatness among other things. Oxfam has assessed food security conditions in the countries of the South Caucasus, and concluded that the Food Index, which summarizes the challenges people face getting enough of the right food, is low in the states of the region.

According to the data, food prices in Armenia and Georgia are high as reflected in in the share of the income and the money spent on the food.
Oxfam in Armenia has organized a seminar, which presented the 2014 Survey data, which revealed that not the lack of calories but the comparative dependency on food containing starch is a real problem in the countries of the South Caucasus region.

One implication of this is the great share of underdevelopment among the children in the region.

That is to say, that if bread and potato comprise the greater share of the food people eat daily, they do not receive sufficient amount of albumen and fat resulting in malnutrition.

According to the Demographic and Health Survey 19 percent of children under 5
are underweight, while 8 percent are severely underweight. The number is highest in Syunik region (37%). According to the survey, 15 percent of Armenia’s children are overweight that is the every fifth child residing in Armenia.

In Armenia the affordability to fruits and vegetables levels at 1.8% to 65.4%. The unaffordability is especially high in rural and mountainous communities reaching up 95%. The data also show that 46,4% of Armenia’s population have experienced insufficient food in the last 12 months.
gala Dinner flyer 2016.pdf

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