Agreement Signed Between Holy Etchmiadzin and Habitat for Humanity

Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, Information Services
Address:  Vagharshapat, Republic of Armenia
Contact:  Rev. Fr. Ktrij Devejian
Tel:  (374 10) 517 163
Fax:  (374 10) 517 301
E-Mail:  [email protected]
April 21, 2006

Memorandum of Understanding Signed between the Armenian Church
and Habitat for Humanity International

On April 20, His Grace Bishop Arshak Khachatrian, Chancellor of the Mother
See of Holy Etchmiadzin and Rev. Dr. Kenneth Bensen, representative of
Habitat for Humanity International, signed a Memorandum of Understanding
between the Armenian Church and Habitat for Humanity initiating a new
program entitled the “His Holiness Karekin II” Building Project.  The formal
signing ceremony was held in the Pontifical Residence of the Mother See.

His Grace Bishop Viken Aykazian, Diocesan Legate for the Diocese of the
Armenian Church of America (Eastern), Mr. Ashot Yeghiazarian, Director of
the “Habitat – Armenia” office, Very Rev. Fr. Markos Hovhannisian, Vicar of
the Diocese of Gegharkunik and Mr. Gurgen Martirosian, Mayor of Gavar,
attended the signing ceremony.

The memorandum outlines the cooperation agreement between Habitat for
Humanity International and the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin for the
purpose of building homes for needy families and those living in poverty
housing.  According to the agreement, Habitat will organize and implement an
annual building event in Armenia.  With the blessings and under the auspices
of His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All
Armenians, approximately 100 new houses are planned to be built in the
coming three years.  At least 37 new homes will be built this year in the
regions of the Republic of Armenia – one house representing each diocese of
the Armenian Church dispersed throughout the world.

Joint cooperation between the Armenian Church and Habitat-Armenia began in
2001, when parish teams of Armenians from the United States came to Armenia
to work in building projects.  Then in June of 2005, His Holiness Karekin II
traveled to Michigan and worked alongside President Jimmy Carter and Mr.
Richard Manoogian, Chairman of the MASCO Corporation, in the Habitat
sponsored “Jimmy Carter Work Project” in Detroit.
The inaugural building event under this agreement, entitled “Let us build
with love”, will be held in the Diocese of Gegharkunik from September 5 to
9, 2006. Faithful parishioners from Armenian Church Dioceses around the
world are invited to come to Armenia and participate in this historic
event.  Please contact your diocesan office for details.
At the conclusion of the signing ceremony, His Holiness Karekin II received
the representatives of “Habitat” accompanied by Bishop Viken Aykazian.  The
Pontiff of All Armenians blessed the efforts of Habitat throughout the
world, and stressed the importance of poverty reduction, noting that
projects such as these do more that simply put a roof over the head of a
family, moreover, they instill the spirit of volunteerism, love and charity
in the hearts of men.


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