Opening of the Gevorg VI Ecumenical Centre in the Mother See

April- May 2014

On April 28, in the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, under the presidency of His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, the solemn opening ceremony of the Catholicos Gevorg VI Chorekchyan Ecumenical Centre was convened.

Operating in the new building will be the Inter- Church Relations Department of the Mother See, the Office on Eccleciastical Issues and the Armenian Inter- Church Charitable Round Table Foundation.

Present at the ceremony were Members of the Brotherhood of the Mother See; Metropolitan Ambrosios, Bishop of the Diocese of Helsinki and his delegation from the Finnish Orthodox Church; Mr. Reiner Morell, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Federal Republic of Germany to Armenia; Members of the Board of Trustees and Officials of the Round Table Foundation; and other guests.

The blessing service of the new building was offered by His Grace Bishop Bagrat Galstanyan, Director of the Office on Eccleciastical Issues; His Grace Bishop Hovakim Manoukian, Director of the Inter- Church Relations Department of the Mother See and Primate of the Artik Diocese; and His Grace Bishop Mushegh Babayan, Operations Director of the Mother See. Following the service the Catholicos of All Armenians and Mr. Karen Nazarian, Director of the Round Table Foundation, cut the ceremonial red ribbon to the building.

Bishop Hovakim greeted the guests in the hall of the Ecumenical Centre, reflecting on the important role of the newly opened building, in making inter church relations more productive. His Grace expressed his gratitude to His Holiness Karekin II for providing such benevolent conditions to make the work of the ecumenical bodies of the Mother See more fruitful. On this occasion His Grace Bishop Hovakim also illustrated the efforts of Mr. Nazarian as the director of the Round Table Foundation in facilitating the construction of the new building, as well as his unfaltering contributions within the scopes of the Inter-church relations of the Armenian Church, in the development of diaconia in Armenia, and the peace loving activities in the region.

The Pontifical Encyclical was brought under the singing of the hymn “Etchmiadzinn I Hore“. His Holiness granted the “St. Nerses the Graceful” Medal of the Armenian Church to Mr. Nazarian for the commendable services with his God- loving spirit in the national and church life.

The Pontifical Encyclical, read by Bishop Bagrat Galstanyan, stated in part, “Honourable Mr. Nazarian, it is a great joy to note that your God- blessed life as an honest child of Armenia is adorned with heaven sent achievements, bringing your service to our faithful people and contributions in realizing our Holy Church’s mission established by Christ. For many years now as the Director of the Armenian Inter Church Charitable Round Table Foundation you have progressively participated in the development and prosperity of Inter-church relations and in the mission of making the partnership of the churches more productive. With your rewarding undertakings, you have greatly contributed in establishing a flourishing and safe life in the communities of our Homeland, in providing social services, supporting the caring efforts of the clergymen and humanitarian organizations, also fostering the dialogue in our region for maintaining and reinforcing peace. Highly appreciating Your God- pleasing service and merit, with this Pontifical Encyclical We are bestowing upon you the “St. Nerses the Graceful” Medal of Our Apostolic Holy Church. We wish that with the same vigor and encouragement you continue your vital endeavors with new achievements”.

Following the bestowal of the medal, the Director of the Round Table Foundation expressed his appreciation to the Catholicos of All Armenians for the high honor. Mr. Nazarian stated his confidence that the new center, established through the vision of His Holiness, would become a new impetus in realizing ecumenical projects with a greater swiftness and vitality, strengthening the ties between the Armenian Church and various public organizations.

At the conclusion, the Catholicos of All Armenians extended his appreciation and fatherly message to the guests. Expressing his happiness on the occasion of the opening of the Gevorg VI Center, His Holiness Karekin II congratulated Bishops Bagrat and Hovakim, Mr. Nazarian, and the Center’s employees, wishing for God’s support and heaven sent graces in their God- sent Christian mission.

The Catholicos of All Armenians expressed his appreciation to the ecumenical offices for their undertakings within the Inter- church sphere. His Holiness confirmed that through hard work, the Armenian Church had voiced its opinions from all ecumenical bodies on various matters and issues. His Holiness Karekin II was hopeful that such conditions would make the service of the offices more productive through the promotion of mutual understanding and reinforcement of partnership in bonding the Churches and religious organizations.