BY VANNA KITSINIAN
It is always a historic and momentous occasion when our spiritual head, His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia, honors our community with his visit. Such will be the case when from September 29 to October 4, our Pontiff will make an official visit to celebrate the 20th anniversary of his election and consecration. His Holiness’ visit will be appropriately centered on the theme, “Service Is the Purpose of Life.” Undoubtedly, it will be an occasion marked with much excitement and jubilation, but also one with reflection and a reassessment of our priorities as children of God and members of our church and nation.
His Holiness Catholicos Aram I has been described as deeply spiritual, outspoken, brave, vocal, and a pillar of strength for a world-wide Diaspora community dispersed throughout the world as a result of the 1915 Armenian Genocide. In the last 30 years especially, even prior to his consecration, Catholicos Aram I has proven to be a significant voice in the Armenian Diaspora as well as globally through the World Council of Churches, a voice which echoes and extends beyond the reach of our own community.
The Western Prelacy and community has already begun to prepare for the historic visit, the sixth of its kind by Catholicos Aram I since his consecration. His Eminence Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate of the Western Prelacy, and the Religious and Executive Councils, as well as Khajag Dikijian (Central Executive representative), Vahe Yacoubian (Central Executive member), and Vahe Hovaguimian (Executive Council Chair) as co-chairs, will oversee and coordinate with various committees the celebratory events planned to ensure a successful and rewarding visit for all.
His Holiness’ visit, particularly at a time when there is so much uncertainty in the world – political upheavals, global security concerns, misinformation about religion and the confusing and sad realities that may at times challenge our faith – will be both an occasion to celebrate His anniversary as well as an opportunity to reaffirm our faith.
A number of events are being organized to mark this special occasion, including the 20th anniversary celebration on the evening of Saturday, October 1st, Pontifical Divine Liturgy at Holy Martyrs Church in Encino on the morning of Sunday, October 2nd, and a special event in honor of His Holiness on Sunday evening. As a Pontiff who values the participation and inclusiveness of the youth in our Church, His Holiness will have a meeting with the youth, scouts, and students. Most importantly, his interactions with members of our community will breathe new life into our spiritual life and the mission of our collective Christian faith. His Holiness’ visit will surely touch the lives of many. We encourage all of our faithful to participate in this momentous occasion and be inspired and enriched by the presence and message of our Pontiff.