Patriarchs H H Karekin II & HB John X elected as new WCC presidents


Ecumenical News

Busan: Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians & H.B. John X is Patriarch of the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch and all the East The 10th Assembly of the World Council of Churches elected eight new presidents today during a closed session at its proceedings in Busan, Republic of Korea.

According to the WCC constitution the role of the WCC presidents is to promote ecumenism and interpret the work of the WCC, especially in their respective regions. The presidents are ex-officio members of Central Committee.

The Central Committee will also be elected during the assembly, but after the presidents are elected.

The eight WCC presidents are:

Oriental Orthodox: H.H. Karekin II, the Supreme Patriarch & Catholicos of All Armenians: Catholicos Karekin studied at the Kevorkian Theological Academy, the Faculty of Divinity in Vienna, the University of Bonn, and the Faculty of St. Serguey Monastery’s Academy of the Russian Orthodox Church. He was ordained Bishop and was elevated to the rank of Archbishop. He created the Vazkenian Seminary in Sevan. Through his efforts, the former Communist Pioneer Palaces were converted into church-sponsored youth centers for religious and artistic education of young men and women. He created the Christian Education Center. On October 1999, was elected Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians. Since his election, he has begun the difficult work of the restructuring and reorganization of internal church life, the revitalization of the theological seminaries of the church, strengthening Christian education, and the reconstruction of churches and monasteries. Special emphasis has been placed on the preparation of a new generation of clergy to serve throughout the world. Placing importance on the fostering of ecumenical ties, he has paid visits to the sister churches and their heads. On the occasion of his visit to the Vatican (November 2000) during the solemn ecumenical celebration, Pope John Paul II returned to His Holiness the relics of St. Gregory the Illuminator, the first Catholicos of the Armenian Church. Catholicos Karekin and the Pope have signed a joint communique, in which the massacres of Armenians by the Turkish state and authorities are characterized as Genocide. He met representatives and heads of other religions.

Eastern Orthodox: H.B. John X Patriarch of the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch and All the East: Patriarch John was born in Lattakia, Syria. During his university studies, he played a leading role with the youth, which led to a great spiritual revival among his generation. He graduated from the St. John of Damascus Institute of Theology, University of Balamand, with a Bachelor in Theology and from the University of Thessaloniki, Greece with a doctoral degree in Liturgics. He taught Liturgics at and served as the Dean of the St. John of Damascus Institute of Theology. He was elected Bishop of Pyrgou, and subsequently Metropolitan of Europe. In December 2012, he was elected Patriarch of Antioch. He was involved in worldwide activities at both the Orthodox and ecumenical spheres and participated in international conferences in Greece, Italy, Switzerland, Cyprus, United States of America, Russia, and the United Kingdom. He is the author of several books on theology, education, music, and liturgy.