First Catholicos since Khrimian Hairig to Visit Georgia
ETCHMIADZIN–His Holiness Karekin II, Catholicos of All Armenians, will pay a six-day ecumenical and pontifical visit to Georgia at the invitation of the Catholicos-Patriarch of the Georgian Orthodox Church and the Georgian Armenian Diocese.
Within the framework of the visit His Holiness Karekin II will meet Georgian Catholicos-Patriarch Ilya II, President Mikhail Saakashvili, as well as diplomats accredited in Georgia, leaders of religious communities and Armenian intellectuals.
On Sunday His Holiness will anoint the St. Etchmiadzin Church of Havlabar. This Armenian Church was reopened last year after an interval of five years. “This is the second functioning church in Tbilisi, and Georgian Armenians are grateful to His Holiness for its reopening,” Primate of the Georgian Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church, Archbishop Vazgen Mirzakhanyan said.
The reconstruction of the church, built in 1805, was financed by the Argentine branch of the Hayastan All Armenian Fund, Armenians of California and the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin. “During his visit to the United States in 2006 the Catholicos managed to raise money and undertook the reconstruction upon his return.”
Registration of the Georgian Diocese, the return of six Armenian churches of Georgia and other issues will be discussed during the Patriarch’s visit. “The visit will provide an opportunity to the two Pontiffs to discuss issues of bilateral interest and I hope that the centuries-old friendship between the two countries will further reinforce,” Archbishop Vazgen Mirzakhanyan said
On June 13 Karekin II will leave Tbilisi for Javakhk accompanied by the Georgian Patriarch.
No Armenian Catholicos has ever paid an official visit to Javakh after Khrimyan Hayrik’s visit in 1894.