Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin
On September 23, the opening ceremony of the “St. Gregory of Narek” Armenian Church Youth center of Vanadzor, was held under the presidency of His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, and with the participation of benefactors, Mr. and Mrs. Sarkis and Ruth Bedevian of the United States. Accompanying His Holiness were His Grace Bishop Ararat Kaltakjian, His Grace Bishop Artak Tigranian and Members of the Brotherhood of the Mother See.
His Grace Bishop Sepuh Chuljian, Primate of the Diocese of Gougark; Mr. Aram Kocharian, Governor of Lori; and Mr. Samvel Darbinian, Mayor of Vanadzor, greeted the Armenian Pontiff as he arrived in the town of Vanadzor. The Pontifical retinue and regional authorities traveled to the Diocesan Cathedral of St. Gregory of Narek, which is located on the grounds of the Diocesan Headquarters. The Church of St. Gregory of Narek was built through the benefaction of the Bedevian family.
In the Cathedral, the Pontiff of All Armenians presided over a Memorial Service for the repose of the souls of the late members of the Bedevian family.
Following the service, His Holiness went to the “St. Gregory of Narek” Youth Center. The ground blessing ceremony for the Armenian Church Youth Center of Vanadzor was held on August 30, 2007. The architect of the Youth center is Mariam Movsisian and the construction was completed by “A.Hakobian” Ltd.
The students of the Youth center and residents of Vanadzor welcomed the Armenian Pontiff at the entrance of the Youth center.
While music was performed by a brass band, the pupils, dressed in national costumes, greeted the guests with the traditional salt and bread. Afterwards, His Holiness along with Mr. and Mrs. Bedevian cut a red ribbon at the entrance to open the facility. The Armenian Pontiff and the guests entered the new building and toured the facilities, the soup kitchen and the playground for the children.
Following the tour, His Holiness along with the Brotherhood member offered the blessing ceremony for the newly opened Youth center. Opening remarks were followed by prayers.
On behalf of the teachers and pupils, Rev. Fr. Komitas Hovnanian, Dean of the Armenian Church Youth Centers, extended his message of gratitude to His Holiness and the benefactors. His Grace Bishop Sepuh Chuljian, Primate of the Diocese of Gougark welcomed the Armenian Pontiff and the benefactors and reflected on the importance of such an establishment for the welfare of education and teaching of children. Mr. Aram Kocharian, Governor of Lori; and Ms. Hranush Hakobian, Diaspora Minister of the Republic of Armenia; also stressed the importance of the project, expressing their appreciation to the Armenian Pontiff and the benefactors for the implementation of such projects that are beneficial for the nation and the Homeland.
On the occasion of the memorable day, benefactors Sarkis and Ruth Bedevian expressed their heart-felt feelings to the people in attendance. Mrs. Bedevian reflected on the idea of building a Church and Youth Center named after St. Gregory of Narek, expressing her joy for the completion of the project. In his remarks, Mr. Bedevian extended his appreciation to the Catholicos of All Armenians for initiating the important project of opening Armenian Church Youth Centers years ago. He also reflected on the necessity of caring for the children and youth. Addressing the students of the newly opened Youth center, he said, “Be joyous; preserve and enjoy this house like a jewel”.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, His Holiness Karekin II extended his message of blessings and gratitude to those present: “Our souls are overjoyed, for the doors of the building are open, a building which our children will enter to be educated. And how can’t we but rejoice, as we live for our sons who give us strength and courage so that we can live on and overcome difficulties blocking our way. They also inspire hope and faith for our tomorrow”, stated the Armenian Pontiff in part. Addressing the parents and teachers, His Holiness said, “See the image of God within your children. Follow the teachings of Jesus: take care of your children, clear their path of life from obstacles so that they, as God-loving children, will create the happiness of our life and bring God’s blessings to our life”.
His Holiness extended his appreciation and blessings to Mr. and Mrs. Sarkis and Ruth Bedevian, for they “gave of their honest earnings to our offspring – the children of Vanadzor”. His Holiness also wished that God grant them strength and vibrant days of life.
The Catholicos of All Armenians expressed his appreciation and gratitude to the Governor and Mayor for their support as well as to the architect and the construction company for their devotion and hard work.
The Pontifical message was followed by a concert performed by the students of the “St. Gregory of Narek” Youth center in Vanadzor and the “Nork” Youth Center in Yerevan. At the end of the program, the presented gifts of their embroidery works to the benefactors.