GLENDALE—“This Consulate is our home, just as the Church and Armenia are our homes,” stated His Holiness Catholicos Aram I during a visit to the new headquarters of the Armenian Consulate General on Wednesday, October 12.
The Catholicos arrived at the Consulate General accompanied by Western Prelate Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian and clergy and councils members. Upon their arrival, the Catholicos and his entourage were welcomed by Consul General of Armenia Grigor Hovhannisyan and consular staff.
The Consulate General had organized a reception in honor of the Catholicos, with the participation of acting Consul General of Lebanon the Honorable Madonna Aoun Ghazal, representatives from the “House of Lebanon,” Rev. Joe Matossian, Minister of the Armenian Evangelical Union of North America, Very Rev. Fr. Krikor Chahinian, Rector of the Armenian Catholic Church, former ARF Bureau member Dr. Viken Hovsepian, ARF Central Committee members, Central Executive and Executive Council members, community leaders, sponsors, and friends.
At the entrance of the Consulate General, His Holiness conducted the Blessing of the Home ceremony and the traditional blessing of salt and bread.
In his welcoming remarks, Consul General Hovhannissian stated that His Holiness is an important figure not just for Armenians but also in the international arena, and presented His Holiness with a painting of the historic St. Mary’s Church of Ani. He then invited the Prelate to deliver his remarks and to introduce His Holiness. The Prelate first thanked the Consulate General and Consular staff for their warm welcome and reception. He stated that his first visit to the new headquarters was just recently at the official opening, and expressed joy that this second visit took place during the Pontifical Visit of His Holiness to our Prelacy. His Holiness was then invited to deliver his message.
His Holiness commended the Consul General and Consular staff for their service to our homeland and spoke of the role of the Consulate General as the home of Armenians. Stating that Armenia is our history, our past, our present, and our future, His Holiness added that Armenia has sustained us and it is our responsibility to sustain it. The Diaspora and Artsakh is an extension of Armenia, and every Armenian has an obligations to serve for the splendor of these nations and communities. His Holiness also reflected on the Armenian Cause, saying that we will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Genocide not just with prayers but by demanding the rights of our people, and that the Catholicosate of Cilicia has been and will remain on the forefront of pursuing the Armenian Cause.
His Holiness presented the Consul General with a beautiful painting, and the Prelate also presented him with a carpet on behalf of the Prelacy.
The reception came to a close with the benediction by His Holiness.