Yesterday I realized how strong the Armenian Diaspora really is. I was talking to my mother, and I was telling her what songs we were learning in Junior Choir, and she knew them ALL (I don't think she knew Mer Hayrenik, though. She knew another song called "Anoush Hayrenik."). I was really surprised. My mother grew up in Damascus, but I don't think anyone from my church is from Damascus. Many of them are from Baghdad (both recent immigrants as well as people who have been in the US for 30+ years), or Iran, or other places. I just know that no one has said, "Hey, I (or my mom or dad etc.) am from Damascus!" And they all know the same songs. Not just that, but their KIDS, who were born in the US, ALSO know the same songs. The Armenian Church is a very important part of the strength of the diaspora. I think this is why I have always been drawn to it.
I know that there is a big difference between the Armenians who come from Turkey and the Middle East (often via Turkey anyway), and those who come from Armenia proper (especially if they lived there during the Soviet era), but I think my church is quite good at bridging the distance between the two, since we do have religion in common, even if the language, customs, and language are different.