A World Armenian Commission on Holy Etchmiadzin Preservation can ensure funds do not fall into Derderian-Karekin II’s hands
Posted on August. 14. 2019
BY APPO JABARIAN Managing Editor USA Armenian Life Magazine print/electronic editions Hye Kiank Armenian Weekly print/electronic editions armenianlife.com
Benefactors and parishioners want an accounting on the final costs of the construction of St. Leon Armenian Cathedral in Burbank, California built in 2010.
Original estimate of construction including contractor’s fees hovered around $12-$14 million dollars. Eventually the costs were driven up close to $24 million. In 2019, according to an independent construction cost expert analyst, values, the construction of the cathedral, the dome and the parking lot would cost in today’s dollar value no more than $15 million! Where did the surplus $8-$9 million go? Since the general contractor claimed that he didn’t make any money, than with that $24 million there could have been built two cathedrals. As a course of action and for the sake of transparency and accountability an independent audit should be conducted so the benefactors and members of the community can have accurate information from Arch. Hovnan Derderian of the Western Diocese as to where did millions of dollars go? May we suggest a certified accounting firm as KPMG to do the auditing? This community deserves it.
Now Holy Etchmiadzin Cathedral wants money for much needed repairs: Now unfolding: Arch. Derderian and Karekin II are holding an open-ended worldwide plea for funding for the repairs of the Holy Etchmiadzin Cathedral. We are told that it “is our duty, as Armenians, to just give.” To give without knowing exactly how the money will be used? This writer would like to suggest an independent Worldwide Armenian Commission on Holy Etchmiadzin Preservation without ties to the present administration of the Holy See to conduct a comprehensive study of the needs to repair the Holy Etchmiadzin Cathedral.
Such an independent mechanism can ensure no funds fall in the hands of Arch. Derderian and his main collaborator Karekin II and their lackeys among clergy and laypeople. The commission should not include Diaspora’s faith-based and community-based organizational leaders that are corrupted.
The time is now to go onto the world stage to preserve, for the collective interest of humanity, our historical Holy Etchmiadzin. We need to mandate the independent commission to engage with UNESCO for the much-needed repairs of the Holy See of Etchmiadzin.
Armenia can provide assistance in the formation of the commission representing Armenians both in the homeland and Diaspora. Afterall, as a member of United Nation’s States Parties Armenia, has been an adherent to UN World Heritage Convention since May 9, 1993. Therefore, Armenia “agrees to identify and nominate properties on their national territory to be considered for inscription on the World Heritage List.” When a State Party nominates a property, “it gives details of how a property is protected and provides a management plan for its upkeep.” As a member of States Parties Armenia is also “expected to protect the World Heritage values of the properties inscribed” and is “encouraged to report periodically on their condition.” As of Jan. 31, 2017, there were 193 adherent States to the UN Convention.
Definition of what UNESCO does (taken off of Wikipedia): A World Heritage Site is a landmark or area which is selected by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as having cultural, historical, scientific or other form of significance, and is legally protected by international treaties. The sites are judged important to the collective interests of humanity.
To be selected, a World Heritage Site must be an already classified landmark, unique in some respect as a geographically and historically identifiable place having special cultural or physical significance (such as an ancient ruin or historical structure, building, city, complex, desert, forest, island, lake, monument, mountain, or wilderness area). It may signify a remarkable accomplishment of humanity, and serve as evidence of our intellectual history on the planet.
The sites are intended for practical conservation for posterity, which otherwise would be subject to risk from human or animal trespassing, unmonitored/uncontrolled/unrestricted access, or threat from local administrative negligence. Sites are demarcated by UNESCO as protected zones. The list is maintained by the international World Heritage Program administered by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, composed of 21 “states parties” that are elected by their General Assembly.
The programme catalogues, names, and conserves sites of outstanding cultural or natural importance to the common culture and heritage of humanity. Under certain conditions, listed sites can obtain funds from the World Heritage Fund. The program began with the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World’s Cultural and Natural Heritage, which was adopted by the General Conference of UNESCO on 16 November 1972. Since then, 193 state parties have ratified the convention, making it one of the most widely recognized international agreements and the world’s most popular cultural program.
As of July 2019, a total of 1,121 World Heritage Sites (869 cultural, 213 natural, and 39 mixed properties) exist across 167 countries. China and Italy, both with 55 sites, have the most of any country, followed by Spain (48), Germany (46), France (45), India (38), and Mexico (35).
This study would reflect the scope of the monies needed to repair, save and catalogue ancient stones. Stones to be studied by scholars to ensure the integrity of Armenian history. Once the costs are determined a plea can go out and individuals and or corporations can contribute as informed Armenians. Armenia may even qualify for UNESCO funds.
In the recent past many diaspora Armenians have donated to Etchmiadzin with their promise of repairing ancient churches to later discover to their shock money had disappeared and more money was needed to complete the job. Let’s wake up and learn from the recent past.