On October 21, in the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians; offered a ground blessing service for a new building on the grounds of the Mother See, which will serve as a Candle Lighting Hall, and Burial Tomb for the Catholicoi.
Prior to the service, Divine Liturgy was celebrated in the Mother Cathedral, by Bishop Vahan Hovannisian, Primate of the Diocese of Great Britain. In attendance were members of the Brotherhood of Holy Etchmiadzin, delegates from the Armenian General Benevolent Union’s (AGBU) 87th General Assembly, Mr. Berge Setrakian, President of the AGBU, AGBU Central Board members, and many pilgrims.
At the end of the Divine Liturgy, a requiem service was offered for the souls of His Holiness Karekin I of Blessed Memory, His Beatitude, Archbishop Torkom Manoukian, the Patriarch of the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem, deceased AGBU members, and members of the Armenian community who have died during the recent military operations in Syria. Prayers were offered that their souls may rest in peace.
A procession was led from the Mother Cathedral to the site of the new building, which will be located in front of the Mother Cathedral. The architects of the new building are Aslan Mkhitaryan and Hayk Mkrtchyan. His Holiness offered the Ground Blessing Service, and the end of the service, expressed his appreciation to the benefactors, Mr. and Mrs. Karnig and Anahit Yacoubian of Canada, who several years prior, where the benefactors of the new facilities at the Vaskenian Theological Academy at Lake Sevan.
The Catholicos led the participants on a tour of the Old Pontifical Residence, which is currently being repaired and remodeled. His Holiness expressed his appreciation to Mr. and Mrs. Berge and Vera Setrakian and family, who are sponsoring the repair work of the building.