Armenian Church Leaders Reconfirm Unity

YEREVAN (Armenpress)–Armenian Patriarchs of Jerusalem And Istanbul Archbishops Torgom Manookian and Mesrob Mutafian were received July 27 – August 3 in the Mother See Holy Etchmiadzin. Catholicos of All Armenia’s Karekin II talked to RFE/RL correspondent about this visit and other issues.

Armenpress: Your Holiness–according to the Mother See press office–the meeting of Your Holiness with Jerusalem and Istanbul Patriarchs proved to be efficient and one more time confirmed the spirit of fraternity and cooperation between the chairs of the Armenian Apostolic Church. How have the current problems been settled?

Karekin II: As you know–together with Armenian Patriarchs of Jerusalem and Istanbul we held a range of meetings and discussed both the problems which are the concerns of the Church and those referring to the 1700th Anniversary of Christianity Proclamation in Armenia–as well as several recent disputes. And I am happy to say that all the misunderstandings have been settled and the spirit of fraternity and cooperation between our chairs has been re-established–and we must unanimously keep serving to our church and our faithful people.

Armenpress: In the course of years–indeed–many questions have accumulated in the church–including the lack of Regulations–seen as a major problem–which is becoming the source of different disputes and disagreemen’s. What is Your Holiness’s opinion about the possibilities for convening a National Church Council to adopt an already drafted Regulations.

Karekin II: As you know–a commission has been set up for preparation of the Church’s Regulations–which has already drafted a relevant bill and submitted it to the consideration of the Diocesan leaders–our bishops–who–in their turn–will present their opinions to the Supreme Spiritual Council. The works are in this stage so far–the proposals are expected to be made–which will be discussed by the Supreme Spiritual Council. And after the works are accomplished–the council will set a date for convening the National Church Council.

Armenpress: Your Holiness–Pop John Pall II is scheduled to visit Armenia September 25–as part of celebrations of 17 centuries of Armenia’s conversion into Christianity. The Vatican has recently apologized to different countries for the Catholic Church’s faults made in different periods of time. Do you think–he will make such a step for Polish Armenian community’s forced conversion into Catholicism?

Karekin II: The Pope is to arrive at Mother See Holy Etchmiadzin to take part in the festivities to be held on this occasion. And it is the spirit of fraternal love that is to rule over our meeting. So we cannot predict His Holiness’s speech–goodwill message and prophecy. And we think that his speech will reflect our people’s 1700 years old faith.

Armenpress: And the last question–Your Holiness. The people do not seem to be manifesting a special excitement regarding an extensive range of officially sponsored festivities and events. In one of your interviews you said that the 1700th anniversary has a beginning but not an end. Hence–we suppose that the activity in the spiritual life will not end with the jubilee year.

Karekin II: It is natural that our spiritual work–our service and our mission are to be continued–and in this connection–the 1700th anniversary is an impetus for us to carry on our activities–our mission and make the 1700th anniversary the beginning of restoration and revival of our Christian faith in our Motherland as well as in Diaspora.

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