Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin – July 2016
On June 25-30 under the presidency of His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians; a Supreme Spiritual Council meeting was held in the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin.
The co-chairman for the meeting were; His Eminence Archbishop Pargev Martirosyan, Primate of the Diocese of Artsakh; His Eminence Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America and His Grace Bishop Haigazun Najarian, Primate of the Armenian Diocese of Australia and New Zealand.
Issues related to ecumenical relations, intra-church life and ecclesiastical councilor structures were discussed during the meeting.
During the meeting, they reflected on the Pope’s visit to Armenia. His Holiness expressed his satisfaction in the process, that in 2014, Pope Francis was invited to Armenia, and confirmed his visit through a letter in 2015, and finally made a fraternal visit to the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin from 24 to 26 June 2016; which was held in a warm spiritual atmosphere. His Grace Bishop Arshak Khachatryan, Chancellor of Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, presented a report on the visit.
The SSC members noted that the three-day visit of the Pope to Armenia was the best confirmation of the existing fraternal relations and cooperation between the Armenian Apostolic and Catholic Churches. The members of the Supreme Spiritual Council also expressed their appreciation to the Visit Organizing Committee and all those who participated in the organizational activities.
During the meeting, the SSC members were made aware of a request from His Eminence Archbishop Nurhan Manookian, Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem, asking for the participation of the Armenian Church in the renovation of the Tomb of our Lord Jesus Christ in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem. Stressing the importance of Jerusalem in the nation’s life and the responsibility of the Armenian Church for the preservation of sacred places, the Supreme Spiritual Council, under the presidency of the Catholicos of All Armenians, committed to support the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem and secure the necessary amounts with the Dioceses around the world.
His Eminence Archbishop Nathan Hovhannisyan, Chairman of the Diocesan Representative Assembly Committee, reported on the organizational works for Assembly, which will be convened from October 31 to November 4 in the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin.
His Eminence Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, Primate of the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America, presented a report from the Assembly Charter Drafting Committee, on the progress of the Draft Charter Project of the Armenian Church Representative Assembly. Various suggestions and considerations regarding the draft articles were made during the discussions, based on which the Committee was instructed to finalize the draft charter and present it at the next SSC meeting.
Rev. Fr. Markos Mangasaryan, Director of the Social Services Office, gave a report on the Assistance to Artsakh Program, noting the donations organized by the Mother See in the Dioceses of the Armenian Church around the world, as well as the humanitarian aid rendered by various departments and dioceses of the Mother See; that were sent to Artsakh.
Expressing satisfaction regarding the support provided by the ecclesiastical institutions and dioceses, the Supreme Spiritual Council stressed the importance of continuing efforts in this direction, assisting the Armenians of Artsakh and aiding in their needs.
The meeting concluded with the “Protector” prayer and blessings of the Catholicos of All Armenians.