GYUMRI (Public Radio of Armenia)—President Serzh Sarkisian attended the official consecration ceremony of the Holy Martyrs Armenian Catholic Church, an episcopal residence, in Gyumri today. The ceremony was held as part of the commemoration of the centennial of the Armenian Genocide. The church is named “Holy Martyrs” in memory of the martyrs of the Armenian Genocide.
The ceremony was attended by Armenian government officials, heads of diplomatic missions and international organizations accredited to Armenia, members of the Synod of Bishops of the Armenian Catholic Church, as well as by the sponsors of the church’s construction and other guests.
The ceremony was co-conducted by His Eminence Leonardo Sandri, Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, and His Beatitude Gregory Petros XX Gabroyan, newly elected Catholicos-Patriarch of the Armenian Catholic Church.
On the occasion of the church’s opening, Papal Nuncio Bishop Marek Solczynski read a message from Pope Francis, Bishop of Rome, while the episcopal delegation of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin presented the patriarchal blessings of His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians.
It was S. E. Archbishop Nerses Der-Nersessian, the first primate of the Ordinariate of the Armenian Catholic Church in Armenia, Georgia, Russia and Eastern Europe, who pursued the goal of building an Armenian Catholic church in Gyumri as an episcopal residence. Plans were continued by second Primate S. E. Archbishop Nshan Karakeheeyan, and construction began in 2010 during the service of H. Vahan Ohanyan, an apostolic delegate, with the blessing of His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, and with the support of the Armenian government. The church was designed by architect Hakob Jivanyan.
The church construction was continued and finished by S. E. Archbishop Rafael Minasyan, who took the office of primate in 2011. It was his decision to name the church Holy Martyrs as a symbol of the Armenian Genocide.
The chief supporters of the construction of Holy Martyrs Church are the Holy See, the Council of Oriental Churches, the Italian Synod of Bishops, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Renovabis, Kirche in Not, the Archdiocese of Cologne, the association Work in the East, Rome’s Levonian Pontifical College, St. Vlas Church, and the Caporale family from Italy.
A cross-stone to the martyrs of the Genocide has been erected in the yard of Holy Martyrs Church.