ArmenianOrthodoxChurch.org – June 2017
28 May 2017. Sunday, on the eve of the 100th anniversary celebrations of the independence of the Republic of Armenia, His Holiness Aram I presided over the Holy Liturgy at the St Gregory the Illuminator Cathedral. During the Liturgy, prayers of ‘thanksgiving’ were offered for the Republic of Armenia and a Memorial Service was held for the victims of the 1918 battle of liberation, ‘Sardarabad.’
After the Liturgy, His Holiness, the clergy, representatives of Armenian political and civil society organizations, and the faithful gathered at the Main Hall of the Catholicosate to celebrate the victory and Catholicos Aram I’s name day. Rev Karekin Shekherdemian addressed the audience on behalf of the Brotherhood. He first paid tribute to the national hero, Aram Manoukian, for his strong faith and courageous actions in pursuit of his people’s liberation. Drawing parallels, he said “Catholicos Aram I’s recent legal action against Turkey, demanding the return of the Seat of the Catholicosate of Cilicia in Sis, is a demonstration of his strong vision and courage. Heros are temporal, but their vision, commitment and work are immortal.” Following a brief interlude of songs dedicated to the battle and the victims of Sardarabad, by the “Armash” choir of the Seminary, His Holiness Aram I addressed the guests.
The Catholicos described 28 May as a turning point in Armenian history, the symbol of liberation and gaining independence. However, he stated, “Historical events are shaped and given meaning through individuals. The late Catholicos, Karekin I Hovsepiantz, of the Catholicosate of Cilicia and Aram Manoukian, the founder of the first Republic of Armenia, are our role models. Our spiritual leader, Catholicos Karekin I Hovsepiantz, who was committed to his Chrisitan Faith and to the Armenian nation and people, accompanied the ‘Sardarabad’ liberation journey. Aram Manoukian expressed the faith and the will of the people to defend ‘Erevan’ from falling in the hands of the enemy. Today, we need such leaders in Armenia, Artzsakh and the Diaspora because the struggles of 28 May 1918 continues and the people need wise leaders to guide them in their aspirations.
In his conclusion, His Holinenss Aram I paid tribute to the people in Artsakh and their struggle, evoked the spirit of the Late Karekin I Hovsepiantz of the Catholicosate of Cilicia and promised his support to the people.
The ceremony concluded with the ‘Cilicia’ anthem, the hymn dedicated to the Catholicoi; after which, His Holiness Aram I received the greetings of the participants.