ETCHMIADZIN (Combined Sources)–The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams arrived in Armenia on Monday to participate in “Olympic Dream for Darfur” a Symbolic International Torch Relay that will be passing through Armenia.
The Archbishop was received by Catholicos Karekin II, head of the Armenian Apostolic Church at Ethcmiatdzin and will visit the second Catholicosate in Antelias, Lebanon on Friday where he will be welcomed by Catholicos Aram I for a private conversation followed by a dinner for the Archbishops delegation.
“The visit by the head of the Anglican Church to Armenia will further strengthen friendly ties between the two churches,” said Karekin II. “We are facing numerous cultural, social, economic and political challenges which are a concern for the Church and we need to join efforts to find their solutions,”
During his visit, the Archbishop and Karekin II met with convicts at a juvenile and women’s prison in Abovian.
The participants of the Torch Relay in Armenia include: His Holiness Karekin II, Catholicos of All Armenia’s, the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, the General Secretary of the World Council of Churches Sam Kobia, Archbishop Vicken Aykazian, Etchmiadzin’s Ecumenical Legate in Washington, DC, as well as the President-Elect of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA, and others.
Olympic Dream for Darfur is a global advocacy campaign, whose goal is to secure protection for the civilians of Darfur. The torch relay has already begun and will pass through those countries whose peoples have experienced genocide.
The relay began on the Darfur/Chad border in early August then went to Rwanda. Other countries to be visited include Armenia, Bosnia, Germany and Cambodia. (Symbolic torch relays are also being carried out in the United States and around the world.)
One of the principal goals of Dream for Darfur is to show what happens when the world looks away from genocide and to link the genocides and slaughters of the 20th century to what is happening in Darfur today.
Darfur and Rwandan genocide survivors as well as Armenian Genocide survivors and/or their descendants will also participate alongside Dream for Darfur officials.
The relay is expected to end in Hong Kong in December, focusing on the Nanjing Massacre. Using a symbolic Olympic torch, Dream for Darfur wishes to also encourage all concerned citizens of the world to urge the government of China to use its unique role to alleviate the suffering of the people of Darfur. China is host to the 2008 Olympics and with its influential relationship with China is uniquely positioned to help end the suffering in Darfur.
Dream for Darfur does not advocate for a boycott of the Olympics, or withdrawal by any nation. Rather, it believes that the ideal of the Games is a symbol of peace and international cooperation. China’s slogan for the Games is One World, One Dream.