Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin– May 2016
On May 29, the Armenian Apostolic Holy Church solemnly celebrated the Feast of the Universal Holy Church of Etchmiadzin. Under the presidency of His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians; Divine Liturgy was offered in the Mother Cathedral.
Primates of the Armenian Dioceses; Bishops of the various institutions of the Armenian Church; members of the Brotherhood of the Mother See; clergy of the Diocese of Tavush and the region’s pilgrims, led by Mr. Hovik Abovyan, the Tavush governor and community leaders; as well as servicemen and numerous faithful citizens, gathered in the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin on the occasion of the feast. Attending the Divine Liturgy were benefactors of the Mother See: Mr. Berge Setrakian, AGBU President; Mr. Gabriel Chemberchyan, Founding President of the “Pyunik” Charitable Foundation; and Mr. Vasken Yakubyan, AGBU Central Board member responsible for projects in the Middle East and Armenia.
The celebrant was His Grace Bishop Bagrat Galstanyan, Primate of the Diocese of Tavoush.
His Grace reflected on the sacredness and significance of the feast and stated in part: “Today is the feast of the Universal Holy Church of Etchmiadzin, and we; from around the world, from various parts and borders of the Armenian world, united with religious and secular representatives, we praise and thank our Lord for this granted great grace.
… The establishment of Holy Etchmiadzin is of great significance, as the beating heart of the Mother Church, as the shining sun which fills the Armenian spiritual life, and develops our spiritual culture, irrigates and fills the fields of our Homeland borders for the establishment of peace.
It seems to be providential that during these past days we have continuously celebrated the glorious pages of the heroic feasts of May. And looking back to the fourth century: the days when our Holy Church was established, we understand that today’s ideas summarize and becomes the cornerstone of all these victories”.
In his sermon, Bishop Bagrat reflected on the role of savior assumed by the Mother See over the centuries, as well as caregiver of the orphans and refugees who escaped the massacres during the Armenian Genocide. He noted the important mission of gathering and caring for orphans which was undertaken by the AGBU during those years. “Today in the courtyard of the Mother Cathedral are not the overlooked orphans, and the people who bear the sword of Genocide on their backs; but the representatives of political and secular authorities, military leaders, citizens of the Tavoush region and as well as Armenians who have made great contributions to the strengthening of the Homeland; and those from varied cultural,and educational sectors have come here: to be join in the prayers of the Catholicos of All Armenians”, stated the celebrant priest.
The Primate of the Diocese of Tavoush also stated that the pilgrims of Tavoush came to leave their embrace to the Mother Cathedral, receive the blessings of His Holiness and testify that those living on the border of life and death, keep the honor and dignity of the entire nation.
“There is no death of our people, as long as there is the Mother See of Holy Echmiadzin, as far as we are accompanied by the vision of St. Gregory the Illuminator and the powerful arm of King Trdat. The Mother Cathedral is not merely a historical monument but the living Christians today”, concluded Bishop Bagrat.
At the conbclusion of the Divine Liturgy and under the presidency of His Holiness, a Pontifical prayer for Holy Etchmiadzin was offered. The faithful prayed for the steadfastness and undending success of the eternal mission.
In the courtyard of Mother Cathedral, in front of the St. Trdat Arch, His Holiness conveyed his appreciation and blessings to the pilgrims from the Diocese of Tavoush, urging them to remain united under their spiritual Primate and the governor, supporting them in the implementation of all patriotic programs, and appealed to them to remember the Homeland and the Armenian Church in their prayers.