Aram I in Washington Boston for 1700th Events

WASHINGTON–His Holiness Aram I–Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia arrived in Washington–Thursday to participate in the 1700 anniversary celebration of the Prelacy of the Eastern US and Canada. His Holiness was accompanied by the Prelate of the Eastern Prelacy Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan–Bishop Khajag Hagopian–Rev. Anoushavan Tanielian–Rev. Krikor Chiftjian–Nazareth Karakashian member of the Central Executive Council of the Catholicosate. His Holiness was led in "Hrashapar" procession to the St. Katch Church of Washington. In his greeting remark the Prelate explained to the people the importance of the 1700 anniversary–for the life of the Armenian Church and people and invited His Holiness to give his message to the faithful.

Speaking about this landmark event in the history of the Armenian Church–Aram I briefly exposed those significant aspects and important achievemen’s–which characterized the history of the Armenian Church. His Holiness particularly emphasized the fact that the church has played a pivotal role becoming the magnet–around which the church was evolved. His Holiness then explained that for the celebration of this event a Central Committee presided by His Holiness Karekin II–Catholicos of All Armenia’s–and His Holiness Aram I Catholicos of Cilicia–representing four Hierarcal Sees of the Armenian Apostolic Church was formed five years ago. Besides this Committee–each Hierearcal See organized a series of functions–pertaining to their own jurisdiction. Thus in this context that the Armenian Catholicosate of Cilicia–has established its own programs–which contain different initiatives and activities on Diocesm and global levels. It was in this context Aram I said that he came to the US and Canada to take part in person in the celebration of 1700 anniversary. In his concluding remarks–His Holiness made an appeal to the people to own this landmark event by responding to its message and challenge. After the church service His Holiness met with the students of the Armenian Saturday school–speaking on issues concerning about the church.

The next day–Aram I visited the Lebanese–Syrian and Armenian embassies–together with clergy and lay representatives and met the ambassadors of the said countries. At the Armenian embassy His Holiness had a long discussion with the special envoi of the US for Karabakh and Caucasus–Cavanoy. The ambassador of Lebanon held a lunch banquet in honor of His Holiness. In the afternoon Aram I paid an official visit to the Ecumenical Center in Washington–DC where he had informal discussion with the representatives of the churches and organizations–on issues and concerns related to the Ecumenical movement in general–and the present state of the Ecumen’sm in the US in particular.

In the evening Aram I presided over a major celebration–organized by the community on the occasion of the 1700 anniversary. At the beginning of this event an Ecumenical service took place–which was followed by a keynote speech given by Dr. Thomas Bird. In his concluding remarks Aram I characterized the history of the Armenian Church as one journey of faith and pilgrimage of hope. Speaking about the present day situation of the Armenian Church–he said that this anniversary should be an occasion of all of us to redefine the vocation of the Armenian Church in the context of a complex world. At the end of the celebration the "Knar" and "Ani" choirs presented seven Armenian spiritual songs. The celebration was attended by the representatives of the churches by the Noncio of the Vatican–ambassadors and a large crowd of Armenian-Americans from Washington DC and its suburbs.

His Holiness Aram I Catholicos of Cilicia–arrived in Boston on Saturday–October 7. Two major celebration marked the visit of His Holiness to Boston. The first was the Ecumenical service which was held in the St. Stevens Church of Boston. Church representatives from Greater Boston and many faithful participated. The keynote speaker was Dr. Michael Connolly. The speaker outlined those events and circumstances–which led the christianization of Armenia–he then emphasized the important role that the Armenian Church played in the life of the Armenian people. In his concluding remarks Aram I defined the christianization of Armenia as transformation process. "It was through the Christian faith that the life of a nation acquired a new identity and meaning," stated His Holiness.

The second major function was the celebration the holy Eucharist on Sunday morning. His Holiness himself led the Eucharist celebration assisted by Arch. Oshagan Choloyan–Bishop Khajag Hagopian–and the clergy. Hundreds of faithful attended the church service. In his sermon Aram I reminded the congregation that Jesus Christ has described Himself as The Way. After explaining the meaning of it–His Holiness said that the Armenian people has accepted Christ as the Way of its life and history. Referring to the present conditions of our life–Aram I urged the people to follow Christ as the Way of their life in view of different types of ways offered by the present day world.

Another important function related to the 1700th anniversary was the meeting of His Holiness with the youth. His Holiness had an interesting dialogue with the youth–concerning church–school and community issues. Aram I appreciated the growing interest of the youth in community affairs. His Holiness also attended a number of receptions organized in his honor.

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