CHICAGO–Based on a resolution by the mayor of Chicago–Wednesday–Oct. 15–1997 was declared "Aram I" day in the city.
Continuing his pontifical visit in the Eastern Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of North America–His Holiness–Catholicos Aram I arrived in Chicago from a short stay in St. Louise. Accompanying the Catholicos on this leg of his visit were Eastern Prelate Mesrob Ashjian and scepter bearer Deacon Khoren Doghramajian.
The Catholicos and his entourage were greeted at Chicago’s O’Hare by representatives of various cultural and community bodies–Homenetmen’scouts–community members and clergy representing various faiths. Following the airport reception–the Catholicos held a community meeting at his hotel–including a press conference with Chicago area news outlets.
Tuesday evening–His Holiness Aram I made his first pontifical visit to the Chicago All Saints Armenian Church where he was greeted by enthusiastic parishioners and community members. In attendance were clergy representatives from various churches and denominations from the Chicago area. After welcoming remarks by the Eastern Prelate–Aram I blessed the attendees and his address praised Archbishop Ashjian’s service to the region. The Catholicos also touched upon the importance of faith in the life of the Armenian individual as well as the community. In conclusion Aram I stressed the wholeness of the Armenian nation–and called Armenian the home of all Armenia’s in the world.
Following the sermon–the students of the Daniel Varoujan Saturday School presented a cultural program at the church hall. His Holiness Aram I–then address the youth in English emphasizing the gravity of maintaining the Armenian language–cultural and social values. He encouraged the new generation to continue their holy work of learning and teaching the Armenian culture. The attendees were given a chance to interact with the Catholicos during a question-answer period–following which during a small reception the Catholicos had a chance to meet with non-Armenian church leaders.
On Wednesday–the Catholicos visited the Catholic Cardinal of the Chicago diocese and in the evening attended a luncheon in his honor at the home of Dr. Aram Semerjian.
At an official banquet in honor of His Holiness several community members and clergy welcomed the Catholicos to their home town–and the Catholicos in turn addressed the attendees–again calling on the maintenance of the Armenian spirit.
After the cultural portion of the evening presented by the local chapter of Hamazkayin–the Catholicos again praised Archbishop Ashjian–as well as the Chicago parishioners for their service to the Armenian church.