Under the presidency of His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, Palm Sunday is also annually declared to be the Blessing of Children Day. Following morning services, the blessing service for the four corners of the world (Andastan) was offered, after which His Holiness blessed and distributed palm and willow branches to the thousands of faithful in attendance.
Later that same morning, His Holiness presided as the Divine Liturgy was celebrated by His Grace Bishop Ararat Kaltakjian, Grand Sacristan of Holy Etchmiadzin. In his sermon, Bishop Ararat reflected on the sacred mystery of Palm Sunday, and encouraged the faithful to welcome Christ with joy today, and prepare spiritually and mentally for the coming Holy Week which will witness the betrayal, suffering, crucifixion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
At the conclusion of the liturgy, the Pontiff of All Armenians blessed the hundreds of children who had gathered in the chancel of the Mother Cathedral and the thousands who waited outside in the courtyard.
Many children took part in the annual competition of sidewalk art painting in front of the arch of St. Gregory the Illuminator. The competition was organized by the Youth Centers, functioning under the sponsorship of the Mother See and the AGBU. Also throughout the day, the Armenian Church Youth Marching Band performed folk music for the countless faithful who visited Holy Etchmiadzin on this festive day.