World Council of Churches Official Visits Armenia

ETCHMIADZIN (Noyan Tapan)–Dr. Konrad Raiser–Secretary General of the World Council of Churches–arrived in Armenia on a three-day official visit–Tuesday–upon the invitation of His Holiness Karekin II–Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenia’s. Dr. Konrad Reiser was accompanied by Teni Simonian–who is in charge of the Inter-Church Relations’ Department of the WCC. The current visit is Dr. Konrad Reiser’s second visit to Armenia.

His Holiness noted that as the Armenian Pontiff he accorded importance to the ecumenical movement–to which is directed the activity of the Mother See’s Inter-Church Relations’ Department. His Holiness confirmed that the Armenian Church will continue to contribute to the WCC’s mission.

Dr. Konrad Reiser gave an assurance that the WCC continues to maintain the atmosphere of mutual understanding between the Christian Churches–as confessing in Christ. All those Churches have become the members of one and the same family–which are not strangers to one another. Referring to the Armenian Apostolic Church–the WCC Secretary General mentioned that the Armenian Church has a special place amongst the ancient churches not only by its 1700 years’ history–but also by its specific character and nature.

Taking the opportunity–His Holiness expressed gratitude to Dr. Reiser for the humanitarian assistance and aid the WCC has rendered to the people of Armenian through the WCC Armenia Round Table–and the Ecumenical Church Loan Fund offices established at the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin.

During the meeting His Holiness and Dr. Reiser discussed issues related to the present situation and new developmen’s of the WCC–as well as referred to the "Millennium World Peace Conference of Religious and Spiritual Leaders" held in New York last month.

Bishop Yeznik Petrossian–Secretary General of the Inter-Church Relations’ Department of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin–and Bishop Navasard Ktchoyan–Vicar General of the Ararat Patriarchal Diocese–also attended the meeting.

Following the meeting–His Holiness and Dr. Reiser paid a visit to the National Assembly (Parliament) and the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Armenia.

An Ecumenical Worship Service will be held at the Church of Holy Resurrection of the city of Spitak–Thursday. Dr. Reiser will pay a visit to the construction site of St. Gregory the Illuminator Cathedral in Yerevan–Friday. Dr. Reiser will hold meetings also with the WCC ART and ECLOF offices’ staff members.

Catholicos of All Armenia’s Karekin II and Secretary General of the World Church Council Rev. Conrad Raiser visited the Constitutional Court of Armenia–Tuesday. Participants in the meeting at the Constitutional Court discussed the issues of the "Christianity and Right" conference to be held in Yerevan October 4 and 5–as well as of the celebrations on the occasion of the 17th centenary of proclamation of Christianity in Armenia.

Chairman of the Constitutional Court of Armenia Gagik Harutiunian pointed out that the participants in the conference jointly organized by the Armenian Apostolic Church and Constitutional Court will discuss the basic principles of justice and human rights formulated in the Bible–legal value of the ecclesiastic decisions of the Armenian Apostolic Church –as well as other spiritual and human rights problems. Both clergymen and lawyers are scheduled to make reports. Delegates from different countries–and Armenian clergymen from the Diaspora will participate in the conference.

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