US House of Representatives Marks Upcoming Visit of Catholicos Aram I

LOS ANGELES–Two prominent Members of Congress have submitted official statemen’s in the Congressional Record marking the upcoming visit in October of His Holiness Aram I–Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia. Los Angeles area US Representatives Adam Schiff (D-29) and Brad Sherman (D-27) both expressed their great anticipation of the arrival of His Holiness.

Congressman Schiff stated that "the main theme of the Pontiff’s visit is ‘Towards the Light of Knowledge.’ This theme reflects the Pontiff’s deep faith that only with greater education and dialogue can the world’s conflicts be properly addressed." Meanwhile–Congressman Brad Sherman followed by saying "Mr. Speaker–please join me in recognizing His Holiness Aram I–a man who has been a strong voice for mutual understanding among religions–cultures and civilizations; a true spiritual leader committed to peace–justice–and human rights."

The Congressional Record is the official record of the proceedings and debates of the United States Congress. It is published by the United States Government Printing Office–and is issued daily when Congress is in session. Following are the full statemen’s that were submitted by the two congressmen.

US Representative Adam Schiff
Member of Congress
In Recognition of Catholicos Aram I’s Pontifical Visit to California

Mr. Speaker–I am honored to join my Armenian American constituents in California’s 29th Congressional District in welcoming the upcoming Pontifical visit of His Holiness Aram I–Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia. His Holiness will be visiting the State of California this October at the invitation of His Eminence–Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian of the Western Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America.

His Holiness Aram I–Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia is the spiritual leader for hundreds of thousands of Armenia’s around the world and one of the most prominent Christian leaders in the Middle East. The Pontiff presently serves as the Moderator for the World Council of Churches (WCC). This prominent ecumenical organization is comprised of more than 340 churches from different cultures and nations around the world representing over 400 million Christians. The Pontiff–who is the first Orthodox and the youngest person to be elevated to this post–is currently serving his second term as Moderator. The main theme of the Pontiff’s visit is "Towards the Light of Knowledge." This theme reflects the Pontiff’s deep faith that only with greater education and dialogue can the world’s conflicts be properly addressed.

The Catholicos’s visit will be marked by a number of major events–including a speech he will deliver on October 14th at the Los Angeles World Affairs Council concerning the challenges to inter-religious dialogue in the Middle East. He will also participate by giving the main address at a symposium to be held at the University of Southern California focusing on "Christian Responses to Violence."

Of special significance to the 29th Congressional District–the Catholicos will be consecrating the Saint Sarkis Armenian Apostolic Church in Pasadena and blessing a new headquarters for the Western Prelacy. I ask all Members to join with me and the Armenian American community throughout the State of California in welcoming the upcoming Pontifical visit of His Holiness Aram I–Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia.

US Representative Brad Sherman
Member of Congress
Tribute To His Holiness Aram I

Mr. Speaker–it gives me great pleasure to join my Armenian American constituents of California’s 27th Congressional District in welcoming His Holiness Aram I–Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia–to the State of California.

His Holiness Aram I was elected Catholicos on June 28–1995. Four years earlier–His Holiness had been selected to serve as the Moderator for the World Council of Churches (WCC). This prominent ecumenical organization is composed of more than 340 churches from around the world and represents over 400 million Christians. His Holiness is the first Orthodox Christian and the youngest person to be elevated to the post of Moderator of the WCC.

Aram I was ordained a priest in 1968 and obtained the title of Vartabed (Doctor of the Armenian Church) in 1970. In 1979 he was elected Primate of the Armenian Orthodox community in Lebanon. The next year he received his Episcopal ordination. His tenure as Primate of the Armenian community in Lebanon coincided with the Lebanese Civil War. During this time and after–His Holiness reorganized parishes and schools–restructured and reactivated church-related institutions–and renewed community leadership.

As a strong supporter of inter-religious relations–dialogue and cooperation–Aram I has played a significant part in promoting common values–mutual understanding and peaceful coexistence among religions. He has worked tirelessly as Primate to foster tolerance and build mutual confidence between Christian and Muslim communities.

His Holiness is also active as a scholar and has written several books in which he frequently admonishes the vital importance of dialogue and collaboration among the living faiths of the world.

We can expect a message of peace and unity when His Holiness addresses the Los Angeles World Affairs Council on October 14th–2005. His Holiness will also present the main address at a symposium to be held at the University of Southern California that will focus on how Christians respond to violence. I am honored that the Catholicos will be visiting the 27th District on October 7th to preside over church services to be held at Holy Martyrs Armenian Apostolic Church in Encino–California.

Mr. Speaker–please join me in recognizing His Holiness Aram I–a man who has been a strong voice for mutual understanding among religions–cultures and civilizations; a true spiritual leader committed to peace–justice–and human rights.

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