Five Feats Of Philanthropist Galust Gyulbenkian

1. After the Genocide, many Armenians emigrated to countries all over the world. But even more Armenians were not able to find a place to live. The biographers of Gyulbenkian write that the billionaire could not tolerate this and decided to support his nation.

Using his political influence, Gyulbenkian did everything to stop Ataturk’s attempts to resettle Armenians in Algeria and Madagascar. He acquired land in Ainchar, Lebanon, for the needs of Armenian refugees who settled there. The philanthropist worked hard to make sure that Armenian children born in a foreign land did not forget about their culture.

In addition to a school built in Lebanese Adjara, Gyulbenkian supported the construction of countless other public institutions. With the donations of the philanthropist, Armenian schools and hospitals were built and opened not only in Lebanon but also in Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Jordan.

2. Gyulbenkian has actively invested in spiritual heritage. With his support, Armenian churches were built in the Middle East, Iraq, and Lebanon – most notably, in the cities of Tripoli, Baghdad, Kirkuk.

3. Galust Gyulbenkian contributed to the construction of the Armenian church of Surb Sarkis in London. The temple built according to the canons of Armenian temple architecture stands in the capital of the UK to this day.

By the way, Galust Gyulbenkian is buried in this church – his body was brought here from Portugal where the philanthropist had died in 1955.

4. With the funds allocated by Gyulbenkian after the end of World War II, the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin was restored.

5. Gyulbenkian also contributed to the construction of the Library of the Armenian Patriarchate in Jerusalem. It is located in the Armenian quarter and is remarkable in that it contains tens of thousands of antique books. The library also houses a repository of ancient manuscripts with over 4,000 items, many of which are dated to the 12th-13th centuries.

After the death of Gyulbenkian, the Galust Gyulbenkian charity foundation was established in accordance with his will. In 1988-1989, the foundation allocated over a million dollars to assist the victims of the Spitak earthquake in Armenia. This figure doesn’t include the contribution of the Armenian branch of the foundation.

20 years after Galust Gyulbenkian’s death, he would be characterized in Portugal in the following way: “The way Gyulbenkian used his fortune throughout his life and the way he disposed of it in his will demonstrates his understanding of the social function of wealth and the obligations implied by it.”

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