On April 30, under the presidency of His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians; and with the presence of Mr. Serzh Sargsyan, President of the Republic of Armenia; and Mrs. Rita Sargsyan, the solemn consecration service of the newly built St. Anna Church, was held. The new Yerevan church is adjacent to the existing Holy Kathoghike Church. The service of blessing the foundation of the church was offered in 2011. The Church and the Yerevan Pontifical Residence were built through the sponsorship of Mr. Hirair and Mrs. Anna Hovnanyan.
In attendance for the service of consecration were the Hovnanyan family members; Mr. Taron Margaryan, Mayor of Yerevan; Mr. Narek Sarkisyan, RA Minister of Urban Development; Mrs. Hranush Hakobyan, RA Minister of Diaspora; public figures and faithful pilgrims.
The beginning of the service began with the ringing of the church bells and the Lord’s Prayer. Under the singing of psalms and spiritual hymns, the Holy Chrism was processed to the Altar, wherewith His Holiness consecrated the Holy Altar. The consecration of the columns of the church was offered by His Eminence Archbishop Navasard Kchoyan, Vicar of the Araratian Pontifical Diocese. The Baptismal Font was consecrated by His Grace Bishop Arshak Khachatryan, Chancellor of the Mother See. His Grace Bishop Hovnan Hakobyan, Grand Sacristan of Mother See consecrated the outer walls of the Church sanctuary.
Following the consecration His Holiness named the newly built church St. Anna, in honour of the mother of the Holy Virgin Mary.
At the conclusion of the consecration ceremony, the Catholicos of All Armenians conveyed his message of blessing to the faithful on the occasion of the opening of the Church. In his remarks, His Holiness noted that the St. Anna Church, built adjacent to the Holy Kathoghike Church, one of Yerevan’s few ancient churches; with its layout and structure seems to serve as an awning and protection to the Holy Kathoghike Church, taking Holy Mother of God in her arms with maternal care like St. Anna.
“It’s not a secret, that the Holy Kathoghike Church, which history dates back to the 13th century, once was a three-nave basilica structure, quite large in size, and which like many other churches, was destroyed in the Soviet era, during Stalin’s repressions. Those faithful participating in the Divine Liturgy at the Holy Kathoghike Church, can atest that the Church was very small for all the members of the community and the faithful had to follow the ceremony from outside.
We are glad, that by building the St. Ann Church, our faithful sons and daughters will be able to attend the sacred services standing under the bright arches of the Church. Each new church that is built grants spiritual joy and happiness to all the faithful. Each newly built church, gives the possibility for the faithful soul to keep the God-given commandments and transfer Christian knowledge from generation to generation. The church is a house of prayer, where man and God meet. The church is a house of prayer, where through rituals and prayers, man finds his peace and rest. The church is a congregation of people who accept God into their hearts, who realize the power of prayer and recognize the grace granted through prayer”, said the Catholicos of All Armenians.
Noting, that the consecration of St. Anna Church is held during the events of the commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, His Holiness added: “The history of our people is like the path travelled by the Holy Kathoghike Church. Like our people, the Holy Kathoghike Church has seen cruel and suffering times, both were attempted to be eliminated, but facing the challenges both are still standing and continue their life, and by the blessings of God, will continue into a new day and new times”.
On the occasion of the joyful consecration, His Holiness urged the pious people to increase their prayers in this holy sanctuary of God.
The Catholicos of All Armenians conveyed his appreciation to Mr. Hirair and Mrs. Anna Hovnanyan, by whose noble contribution, the construction of the church complex became a reality. His Holiness also conveyed his blessings to Mr. Vigen Movsisyan, architect of the Church and the principales of Chilingarian Design Construction, who completed the construction.
At the conclusion, the Armenian Pontiff expressed his wish that the St. Anna Church become a favorite place of prayer for the people, and offers its contribution to the vibrancy of the mission of the Armenian Church.
Following the conculsion of the service, His Holiness Karekin II, President Serzh Sargsyan, and benefactor Hirair Hovnanyan toured the new building of the Yerevan Pontifical Residence.