Cilician See General Assembly Concludes

ANTELIAS–Lebanon–The General Assembly of the Catholicosate of the Holy See of Cilicia concluded Tuesday–as delegates elected a new Catholicosate Executive and Religious councils.

The assembly elected a new Religious Council comprised of the following religious leaders: Bishop Ardavazd Terterian–Bishop Goriun Babian–Arch. Souren Kataroyan–Arch. Yeprem Tabakian–Arch. Zareh Aznavourian–Bishop Varoujan Hergelian–Bishop Khajag Hagopian–Bishop Gegham Katcherian–Bishop Nareg Alemezian–Very Rev. Krikor Tchiftchian and Very Rev. Bartev Gulumian.

The Executive Council of the Catholicosate was elected by the assembly–which chose Andre Tabourian–Voskeperan Arzoumanian–Yervand Pamboukian–Yervand Monofarian–Hagop Ateshian–Hratch Hadjetian–Ara Demirdjian–Tsolag Tutelian–Khajag Dikijian–Ani Pampanini and Harmik Davtian.

On the fourth day of the assembly–delegates continued discussion of the Catholicosate’s upcoming course of activites and approved changes to the Catholicosate by-laws.

Following the election of Religious and Executive Councils–His Holiness Aram I–Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia congratulated the newly-elected bodies and urged all to work together in realizing the activities and goals of the Cilician Catholicosate.

On the third day of its meeting Assembly of the Armenian Catholicosate of Cilicia started the process of identifying of priorities of the coming period. These priorities are: Christian Education–the preservation of Armenian Identity in the Diaspora situation–Theological formation–youth–women and the Church–Human Rights–Diaspora Armenia relations and ecumenical relations. These priorities are set in light of the experiences of the last three years and vis vis the emerging concerns and needs.

On Saturday the Assembly discussed issues related to Christian Education and the Youth and the Church. Two working papers were presented for each topic. Rev. Mesrob Kerkezian (Lebanon) and V. Rev. Anoushavan Tanielian (USA) presented the Christian Education in Middle Eastern and Western context. Youth and the Church presented Aline Baghdassarian (Lebanon) and Shoghig Dadoyan (Greece). After the presentations the Assembly discussed these issues thoroughly. At the of each session His Holiness Aram I summed up the discussions by underscoring a number of concerns and challenges related to the programmatic activities of the Catholicosate in the said areas.

The participants of the Assembly visited "Birds Nest" the only Armenian orphanage in the Diaspora which run by the Armenian Catholicosate of Cilicia This gave the participants to have an idea about the social action on the Armenian Church.

On the second day of its meeting the Assembly received the reports of the religious and lay executive committees of the Catholicosate. These reports have included various areas and aspects of the mission and service of the Church. These are: Christian Education–Theological Education–social service–matters to the reformation of the church–evangelical movemen’s–ecumenical relations–interfaith dialogue–Armenia-Diaspora relations–finance–pastoral issues–cultural activities–relations with the dioceses–etc.

The reports underwent a serious discussion by the Assembly. In his answer to a number of questions His Holiness Aram I emphasized the importance of dialogue collaboration–faithfulness–transparency–and accountability. We would sustain and direct the mission of the Armenian Catholicosate of Cilicia. He said: " We are not an organization–we are Church we don’t organize function–we do mission. We must look at our work in this perspective and with this vision. Therefore we must look for quality and commitment". The Assembly expressed its deep appreciation of the unique leadership of His Holiness. A leadership that goes beyond the confines of the Armenian Church. The Assembly also expressed its appreciation for all those clergy and laity who have participated in the mission of the Catholicosate.

His Holiness Aram I in his opening remarks–addressed the General Assembly by emphasizing the historical mission of the Holy See of Cilicia and the necessity of restructuring of the activities of the Catholicosate in the light of the expanding new role of the Catholicosate during the current developmen’s in the world.

His Holiness stressed that "Antelias is not a mere administrative center–but it is the living center of the collective efforts and ever-expanding multi-faceted role of the Catholicosate of Cilicia".

Aram I categorized the priorities of the Armenian Catholicosate of Cilicia in the five areas of Christian education–Armenian education–the expansion of cultural values–ecumen’sm and inter-religious relations–and the Armenian Cause. His Holiness paid particular attention to the role of women and the youth in the life of the Armenian Church.

Aram I praised the activities of the members of the brotherhood of the Cilician Catholicosate and its lay members in all facets of the church throughout the world.

His Holiness stressed the necessity of strengthening of collaboration with Catholicosate of All Armenia’s in Etchmiadzin an atmosphere of brotherly love and mutual understanding. His Holiness also emphasized the necessity of implementing reform within the Armenian Church. He appealed to the clergy and laity alike to work together towards the renewal of the Armenian Church.

At the conclusion of his address–His Holiness reflected upon the assistance and support that the Holy See of Cilicia provided to the Republic of Armenia as well as the crucial role that the Holy See of Cilicia has played in the development of relations between Armenia and Diaspora.

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