Catholicos Aram I to Begin Canada Visit Thursday

Photo by Arsineh Khatchikian

MONTREAL—His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia, will begin his Pontifical Canada visit in Montreal with a meeting with the community at the Sourp Hagop Armenian Apostolic Cathedral at 7:30pm on Thursday, June 17.

Key public visits for the Pontifical visit of His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos, for Montreal and Laval are:

  • “Nor Dsaghig” Children Choir concert, Sourp Hagop Armenian Apostolic Cathedral at 7:30pm on Friday, June 18
  • Meeting with Armenian students and youth, Montreal Armenian Community Centre, Friday, June 18, 9pm to 10pm
  • Meeting lunch with community religious leaders, Saturday, June 19 at noon
  • Meeting with Armenian organizations, Armenian Community Centre, Saturday, June 19, 8:30pm to 10:30pm
  • Divine Liturgy, Sourp Hagop Armenian Apostolic Cathedral in Montreal, Sunday, June 20, 11am
  • Benediction groundbreaking ceremony of the monument in memory of the Armenian Genocide in Laval, Sunday, June 20, 2pm (corner of boul. Daniel-Johnson & autoroute 440 est).
  • From June 21-23, His Holiness will participate at the Religious Leaders Summit of the G8 Nations to be held in Winnipeg.

From June 24-27, His Holiness will be visiting Toronto, where G8 meeting of the world leaders will take place. During His stay, His Holiness will be meeting with politicians, diplomats, as well as with religious leaders.

The key public visits for Toronto:

  • Meeting with Toronto community, St. Mary Armenian Apostolic Church, on Thursday, June 24, 2010 at8pm.
  • Meeting with community’s religious, political leaders and Armenian organizations, Toronto Armenian Community Centre, Friday June 25, 6pm to 7:30pm
  • Dinner meeting with Armenian students and youth, Toronto Armenian Community Centre, Friday June 25, 8pm to 10pm.
  • Unveiling of the Georgetown Armenian Boy’s Farm, Saturday, June 26 at noon
  • Official Banquet on Saturday, June 26, 8pm to 10:30pm
  • Divine Liturgy, St. Mary Armenian Apostolic Church, Sunday June 27, 11am

Born in 1947, in Beirut, Lebanon, Catholicos Aram I studied at the Armenian Theological Seminary in Antelias, and the Ecumenical Institute of Bossey in Geneva, Switzerland, before receiving His M.Div. from the Near East School of Theology. He received jointly His S.T.M. from the American University of Beirut and the Near East School of Theology.

His Holiness later obtained His PhD from Fordham University in New York and also holds several honorary degrees. His major areas of specialization are philosophy, systematic theology, and Near Eastern church history.

Catholicos Aram I was ordained a celibate priest in 1968, and obtained the title of Vartabed (Doctor of the Armenian Church) in 1970. In 1979, after serving as Locum Tenens for one year, He was elected Primate of the Armenian Orthodox Community in Lebanon and received His Episcopal ordination the following year.

In 1975, he was elected as a member of the Faith and Order Commission of the WCC, and in 1983 as a member of its Standing Committee. At the Vancouver Assembly (1983), His Holiness was elected as a member of the Central Committee of the WCC.

At the Canberra Assembly (1991), he was elected Moderator of the Central and Executive Committees of the WCC, the highest position of this global fellowship of churches, which comprises more than 350 churches from different confessions, cultures, nations and regions. He is the first Orthodox and the youngest person to be elected to the position of Moderator. After serving as Moderator for seven years, His Holiness was unanimously re-elected at the Harare Assembly (1998). The re-election of His Holiness, which was based on his “strong leadership, firm commitment, theological knowledge and administrative experience”, was unprecedented in the history of the WCC.

In June 1995, His Holiness was elected Catholicos (Head of the Church) by the Electoral Assembly of the Armenian Catholicosate of Cilicia (35 clergy and 115 lay representatives), and was consecrated a week later.

Since becoming Catholicos, His Holiness has reorganized and revitalized the work of the Church, particularly in the areas of theological and Christian education, has increased the number of publications, has improved communication with other churches and religious leaders, has augmented the scope of cultural activities, and promoted peace and justice, and human rights internationally.

For further information on dates and locations, please contact Dania Ohanian at 514-856-1200 or


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  1. Hye-phenated said:

    Does anybody know if there is a financial relationship between this Catholicosate and the Roman Catholic Church? Just curious. With all the lawsuits against them it might be a good idea to stay away from the Pope’s crowd until they pay all the damages to the victims of these “celibate priests”…

    • john papazian said:

      The Roman Chatholic Church turned a blind eye to the Genocide the same way they turned a blind eye to the holocaust.I thank the Lord that we are independent of the western Judea/Christian establishment.