RA Ministry of Diaspora hosts presentation of book by Deputy of Syria’s People’s Council Zhirayr Reyisian

On September 27, the Ministry of Diaspora of the Republic of Armenia hosted the presentation of the book “100 Devotees Among the Foreign Friends of the Armenian People During the Days of the Armenian Genocide” by Deputy of the People’s Council of the Syrian Arab Republic, Spokesman of the Prelacy of the Armenian Diocese of the Catholicosate of the Great House of Cilicia in Aleppo Zhirayr Reyisian.

RA Minister of Diaspora Hranush Hakobyan stated the following in her welcoming remarks: “This book by Zhirayr Reyisian is the greatest gift to the Armenian people since the book features the names of 100 foreign philanthropists who loved the Armenians, overlooked all dangers and difficulties, left their respective countries and extended a helping hand to the Armenians who were falling victim to the Turkish yataghan during the Armenian Genocide. Reyisian’s grandfather was also saved during the Armenian Genocide. With this book, Reyisian is also trying to express his gratitude to the friends of the Armenian people.”

The Minister of Diaspora expressed gratitude to the Armenian community of Syria, which remained standing after experiencing war and undergoing trials and tribulations. “The community resisted the hardships thanks to the combined efforts of Armenian clergymen and the Armenian organizations in Syria. Let us wish them health and strength,” the Minister stated.

Primate of the Armenian Diocese of the Catholicosate of the Great House of Cilicia in Aleppo, His Eminence, Fr. Archbishop Shahan Sarkisian valued the book and stated that in spite of the Syrian war and crisis, the community remained standing. Archbishop Shahan Sarkisian expressed gratitude to the Ministry of Diaspora for undertaking the initiative to publish the book and hosting the book’s presentation.

Afterwards, Archbishop Shahan Sarkisian gave the floor to Jusi Biørn, grandson of Norwegian missionary Bodil Katharine Biørn, who is one of the individuals featured in Reyisian’s book. Jusi Biørn expressed gratitude to Zhirayr Reyisian for not forgetting his grandmother’s work and her devotion to the Armenian people and including her in the list of the 100 devotees.

Poetess Tamara Hovhannisyan drew the attendees’ attention to the fact that all the individuals featured in the book are children of educated families and that even though the international community turned a cheek to the greatest catastrophe of the Armenian people in 1915 due to political interests, there were individuals who put their lives and safety at risk and stood by the side of the Armenian people.

Deputy of the National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia Arman Saghatelyan stated that he has been with the Syrian-Armenian community ever since the first days of the Syrian war and has always been amazed and charmed by Reyisian’s activities for the Armenian community of Syria. “I am not surprised that a figure like Zhirayr Reyisian managed to write a book during the war,” he said.

Armenian American writer, publicist Hovsep Nalbandian shared his observations of the book.

The meeting ended with a speech by the book’s author Zhirayr Reyisian, who stated that he had dedicated the book to the memory of his grandfather Maruke Sinanian, who was saved from the Turkish yataghan and eventually settled in Aleppo where he dedicated himself to taking care of Armenian orphans and community service.

Reyisian expressed gratitude to the Ministry of Diaspora and Minister Hranush Hakobyan for organizing the book’s publication and encouraging him. The Armenian Member of Parliament also expressed his gratitude to the Very Reverend Serop Meguerditchian for his support and cooperation. “I had no pretension to write this book. With this book, I have done my best to introduce the Armenians to the foreign philanthropists who loved the Armenians and helped the sons of the Armenian nation having escaped the Armenian Genocide,” Zhirayr Reyisian concluded.


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