On the day the Armenian community in Egypt, together with the Western world, celebrated Palm Sunday, head of the community, Primate of the Armenian Orthodox Church in Egypt Bishop Ashod Mnatsaganian, revealed to Ahram Online his community’s donation of EGP 1 million to the state charitable fund Tahya Misr to support the Egyptian government’s efforts in combating the coronavirus pandemic.
“We owe it to this Holy Land. It is the least we can offer as a helping hand to fight this pandemic in a country that showed a warm attitude towards our nation in the past and continues to do so at present, for which we are grateful,” Mnatsaganian told Ahram Online via telephone immediately after the Holy Mass of Palm Sunday.
The mass was broadcast live on the Facebook page of Egypt’s Armenian Diocese from Cairo’s St Gregory the Illuminator’s Church, for community worshippers to follow with prayers.
Armenians have been present in Egypt since the 8th century CE. Their number increased during the 12th to 16th centuries, and a community was formed in the 19th century after the genocide perpetuated by Ottoman Turks.
On 15 September 1915, four French warships, including the Guichen, and one British naval vessel, transported 4,231 refugees from Musa Ler or Mount Moses — a site of Armenian resistance — to Port Fouad of Port Said, where they lived peacefully in camps until they were able to return to their homes in November 1919.
As Armenia is the first nation to adopt Christianity as its official state religion, in 301 AD, the Armenian nation is very much attached to its church. Armenians are also keen to preserve their language and culture and expose it to broader sections of Egyptian society and to the whole world. The contributions Armenians have made to Egypt are too numerous to mention.
This is not the first time the community has made such a gesture. In September 2018, while the Egyptian Ministry of Emigration and Expatriate Affairs was celebrating “Egyptian-Armenian Fraternity” in the presence of Armenia’s then Minister of Diaspora Mkhitar Hayrapetyan, the community made a similar donation, EGP 1 million, to the Amiri Main University Hospital in Alexandria.