Aram I Visits Hong Kong

HONG KONG–His Holiness Aram I–Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia and the president of the World Council of Churches arrived in Hong Kong last Friday–becoming the first Armenian Catholicos to visit the port province.

Before arriving in Hong Kong–the Catholicos was in Dubai to inaugurate the construction of the first church in the Gulf region.

Aram I was greeted by the chairman of the Asian Council of Churches Felicino Carino–the council’s international affairs coordinator Matteos Xunagara–the secretary general of the Hong Kong Council of Churches Tso Man King and one of the oldest Armenian residents of Hong Kong Jaques Makhsian and Vartan Keshishian.

As the chairman of the World Council of Churches–Aram I met with the secretaries of the Asian and Hong Kong councils of churches where they discussed the Catholicos’ itinerary and schedule for his visit.

On Saturday–the Catholicos visited the Hong Kong University–the Lutheran and Anglican seminaries–the Hong Kong-Chinese border and had an opportunity to become acquainted with the religious establishmen’s and institutions in Hong Kong.

That same evening–the Armenian community in Hong Kong–numbering 20–honored the Catholicos during a banquet.

"Your presence here as the Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia and your position as the chairman of the World Council of Churches proudly fill our hearts," stated Makhsian who was speaking on behalf of the community.

In turn–the Catholicos praised the community and commended them for maintaining the homeland–the church and the traditions in their every-day lives.

Aram I–said Sunday Mass and a sermon at the Anglican Church in Hong Kong Sunday–and emphasized the importance of Christian unity in the world. Armenian community members also attended the Mass.

The Catholicos was honored during a luncheon organized by the Hong Kong Council of Churches–and that afternoon visited the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese where he met with the Metropolitan–where the two discussed the centuries-old relations between the Armenian and Greek churches and emphasized the importance of inter-religious cooperation.

During a visit to the Hong Kong council of Churches Monday–the Catholicos addressed the current political situation in Hong Kong and the role of the church in society. Aram I also met with the same council’s director of Chinese affairs.

During his visit to Hong Kong–the Catholicos also met with Methodist and Catholic leaders–and presented lectures on the ecumenical movement and the role of the World Council of Churches.

He left Hong Kong for Seoul–Korea Wednesday.

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