Bishop Daniel Findikyan is asking for prayers and humanitarian assistance for the people of Armenia who have been in conflict with Azerbaijan since late September.
“I’ve been saying prayers are our most powerful weapon,” Bishop Findikyan, primate of the Eastern Diocese Armenian Church of America, told CNY this week.
“We are people of God. We always have been. We are Christian people. We neither have the desire or the capacity to be attacking our neighbor. All we want is to live in peace and to live a peaceful life.”
Armenia, a predominantly Christian nation, and Azerbaijan, a Muslim-majority country, are former Soviet republics fighting over the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh. Azerbaijan is receiving support from the Turkish military. Two attempted ceasefires failed.
Bishop Findikyan, who appeared Oct. 13 on “Conversation with Cardinal Dolan” on the Catholic Faith Network and Sirius XM’s The Catholic Channel, said with Armenian men fighting, homes are fatherless and are not able to pay for basic household necessities such as food.
“The Azeris and Turks are blatantly just attacking our churches, hospitals,” he said. “One of our most beautiful churches in that region was destroyed about 10 days ago. That’s against the Geneva Convention and every shred of human decency, even at times of war. People are sheltering in these churches.
“There is a desperate need for humanitarian assistance. There is a desperate need now from what I’m hearing for medical assistance and medical equipment.”
Bishop Findikyan was grateful for Cardinal Dolan’s support and added that the cardinal accepted his invitation to speak at an ecumenical service attended by religious leaders of New York at St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral in Manhattan Oct. 21.
“We’ve got a crisis in our beloved Armenia, which is extraordinarily close to you because that’s where your roots are,” said Cardinal Dolan in opening his interview with Bishop Findikyan on “Conversation With Cardinal Dolan.”
“Armenian people who have come to the United States are so worried about their homeland. But it’s important to all of us, Bishop Daniel. It’s one of the most venerable and historic Christian communities in the world.
“It has a long history of suffering, persecution and invasion. It looks again as if war and trembling of human rights and a destruction of religious freedom might be on the horizon for Armenia.”
Mike Pompeo, the U.S. secretary of state, was scheduled to meet with the foreign ministers of both countries in Washington, D.C., Friday, Oct. 23.
“I would welcome any interest on the part of the United States,” Bishop Findikyan said. “The United States being a major power and it’s interest in bringing a cease-fire or peace to this region can only be seen as something positive.”