WASHINGTON, D.C. – Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly) Board of Trustees Co-Chair Anthony Barsamian and President Carolyn Mugar met with His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, and thanked him for the church’s support for legislation aimed at combating domestic violence and helping its victims, which was adopted this month by by the National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia.
The bill on “Prevention of domestic violence, protection of domestic violence victims and restoration of solidarity in the family” introduces criminal and administrative penalties for specific cases defined as domestic violence. The legislation obligates the state to protect victims by providing them with special shelters or banning their violent spouses from approaching them and their children. During the general debates and open discussions, Primate of the Shirak Diocese Archbishop Mikael Ajapahyan strongly endorsed the government efforts to combat domestic violence.
“The Armenian Church is the moral center of society and is voicing its timely support for legislation to protect women, children, and elderly victims of domestic violence. We commend His Holiness for his commitment to Armenian families everywhere and the work he has done to stand firm against violence,” Barsamian said.
In addition, the Assembly expressed appreciation for His Holiness Catholicos Karekin II’s outreach to the Armenian Evangelical community during his recent visit to California. Assembly Board Members Talin Yacoubian and Lisa Kalustian, along with Executive Director Bryan Ardouny and Western Region Director Mihran Toumajan, were on hand during the pontifical visit, of which His Holiness addressed many topics and encouraged sustained involvement and support to the Armenian Church and to Armenian educational and cultural institutions throughout the diaspora.
Barsamian also commended His Holiness on his recent statement to Protestant Armenians in Germany, and his outreach efforts to other sects of Christian Armenians. “The Armenian Church is now leading on these issues and should be commended for not sitting on the sidelines of the priorities of the day,” he stated.
Established in 1972, the Armenian Assembly of America is the largest Washington-based nationwide organization promoting public understanding and awareness of Armenian issues. The Assembly is a non-partisan, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt membership organization.