Pontifical Visit of the Catholicos of All Armenians to the Armenian Diocese of Argentina (May 15-16)

On May 15, His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, celebrated a Pontifical Divine Liturgy in the Church of St. Gregory the Illuminator of Buenos Aires. Present for the ceremony were Mr. Vladimir Karmirshalian, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Armenia, and representatives of Sister Churches.

During the celebration of the Liturgy, the Armenian Pontiff bestowed Orders of Honor to several commendable Armenians for their Church devoted efforts and service to the Nation. His Holiness awarded the Order of “St. Nerses the Graceful” to Mr. Alberto Jerejian, Diocesan Council Chairman of Argentina; Deacon Vahan Berberian, and Mr. Jorge Miurekian. Mr. Frederico Hairabedian and Mr. Ruben Mozian were bestowed the Order of “St. Sahak – St. Mesrop”. The Armenian Pontiff presented an Episcopal Panagia to His Eminence Archbishop Kissag Mouradian, Primate of the Armenian Diocese of Argentina, in appreciation for his long years of service and spiritual guidance. His Holiness gifted a Chalice to the St. Gregory Illuminator parish from the Mother See.

Following the Divine Liturgy, a banquet was held, with the attendance of many from the local Armenian community. During the program, His Holiness granted Pontifical Letters of Blessing to Mr. Samo Sarkissian, Mr. Pedro Mouradian and Mrs. Diana Dergarabedian. At the conclusion of the banquet, His Holiness toured the Sardarapat Publishing House, and prayed at the Monument dedicated to the heroes of Sardarapat for the repose of souls for those who perished during the battle.

In the morning of May 16, the Pontiff of All Armenians visited the main boulevard of Buenos Aires, where, before the Khachkar (Cross Stone) dedicated to Argentina, he prayed for the repose of souls for Mr. and Mrs. Kevork and Vera Karagozian, the benefactors of the Khachkar. Afterwards, His Holiness visited the Armenian mausoleum. In the Chapel of the mausoleum, the Armenian Pontiff conducted a Requiem service, placed a wreath at the memorial of the Armenian Genocide, and prayed for the Genocide victims.

On the same day, His Holiness visited National benefactor Mr. Eduardo Eurnekian, and blessed a newly built Khachkar, highly praising Mr. Eurnekian’s gracious spirit and important contributions to the welfare and prosperity of the Nation and Church.

The Armenian Pontiff held meetings with Mr. Alfredo Atanasof, Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives; Dr. Ricardo Luis Lorenzetti, President of the Supreme Court; and Dra. Elena I. Highton de Nolasco, Vice President of the Supreme Court.

A reception was held in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in honor of the Pontiff of All Armenians. Over two hundred representatives of diplomatic missions were in attendance. During the celebration the Armenian Pontiff was proclaimed an honorary citizen by the Government of Argentina. His Holiness accepted the honor as a sign of appreciation to the Armenian community for their contributions as worthy and successful citizens of Argentina. He noted with gratitude the positive environment that had been created for religious practice, where Sister Churches were each able to implement their mission with an approach of cooperation and friendship.

Following the reception, the Catholicos of All Armenians met with Mrs. Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, President of the Republic of Argentina. Present for the meeting were His Eminence Archbishop Kissag Mouradian, Primate of the Armenian Diocese of Argentina; Vladimir Karmirshalian, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Armenia; Mr. Eduardo Eurnekian, National Benefactor; Leon Carlos Aslanian, former Minister of Justice and Security of the Province of Buenos Aires; and Mr. Alberto Jerjerian, Argentina Diocese Diocesan Council Chairman.

During the meeting, His Holiness expressed his condolences to President Kirchner on the death of her husband – former Argentine President, Nestor Kirchner; whom His Holiness met during his first Pontifical visit to the Armenian Diocese of Argentina. The Armenian Pontiff reflected with appreciation on the recognition and condemnation of the Armenian Genocide by the Senate of Argentina, and expressed his gratitude for the revered words expressed towards the Armenians.

The Armenian Pontiff concluded his visit to Buenos Aires with a cultural event held in the opera-theatre “Theatro Avenida”. Armenian and Argentinean performers, singers and artists presented performances in honor of the occasion. During the celebration His Holiness awarded National benefactor Eduardo Eurnekan with the rare order Knight of Holy Etchmiadzin, highly praising his benevolence and contributions to the National and Ecclesiastical life; his endeavors and projects for the development and prosperity of the Homeland; and wishing Mr. Eurnekian vibrant days of life and new achievements in his efforts to build the Church and State.