Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, 19 September, 2011: In the evening of September 18, His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, welcomed His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia to Armenia in the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin. His Holiness Aram I, is visiting to participate in the events dedicated to the 20th anniversary of the Independence of Armenia, with the Catholicos of All Armenians.
At the airport, Catholicos Aram I was met by His Eminence Archbishop Grigoris Buniatian, Primate of the Armenian Diocese of the Ukraine, His Eminence Archbishop Komitas Ohanian from the Catholicosate of the Great House of Cilicia, as well as by the Members of the Brotherhood of the Mother See: His Grace Bishop Nathan Hovhannisian, His Grace Bishop Artak Tigranian, Rev. Fr. Mushegh Babayan and Rev. Fr. Mkhitar Grigorian.
Under the ringing of the bells of the Mother Cathedral of Holy Etchmiadzin, the Catholicos of All Armenians and the Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia were led to the Mother Cathedral from the Pontifical Residence, where a Prayer of Thanks was offered in front of the Holy Altar of Descent.
In his remarks, His Holiness Karekin II welcomed Catholicos Aram I and the members of the Brotherhood of the Catholicosate of the Great House of Cilicia, “The occasion for your visit is beautiful: you have come to participate in the events dedicated to the 20th anniversary of independence of the Republic of Armenia. In honor of this milestone, we will participate in the events and extend our message and guidance to our faithful sons and daughters, encouraging them in their love towards the Homeland, so that they will continue their service with dedication and commitment for the welfare and prosperity of our nation”. Reflecting on the independence of the Homeland His Holiness stated in part, “Our Church has always nourished the spirit and idea of freedom to our offspring, and preserved the aspiration of Armenian statehood. We extend our glory to God that today it has become a reality, and that our Church stands on the foundation of that achievement. Today we, along with you, testify with our presence, that the Holy Armenian Apostolic Church will continue to assist the Homeland with Her works and endeavors, benefiting the welfare of our nation, as well as the Armenian offspring worldwide, in the efforts of creating a blessed, God-pleasing and prosperous life”.
The Catholicos of All Armenians expressed his wish that the Lord keep the Pontiff Aram I in good health, and grant him success in all his endeavors for the welfare and prosperity of national life and the Holy Armenian Apostolic Church.
His Holiness Aram I Catholicos of Cilicia expressed his feelings on his visit to the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin and the meeting.
“Each time I am on Armenian soil, in the mystery of Holy Etchmiadzin, not only do I relive Armenian history but also restore myself in my Christian faith, in my national experience. So should it be for each Armenian, especially clergy dedicated to the spiritual service of the Armenian Church”, Aram I Catholicos stated in part. Reflecting on 20th Anniversary of Armenian Independence the Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia stated that the Armenian Church with Her work and commitment has brought Her contributions to the birth of Armenian independence and for its strengthening, as well as for the welfare of the Armenian nation. “We have never been passive, never within the margin of our life, but our Church has always existed, acted and served on an important page in the life of our nation and Homeland. Our Church has served with great devotion, deep faith and thorough commitment. Indeed, today we must renew our participation in the strengthening of our Homeland Armenia, and in the prosperity of our Church.”
Pontiff Aram I stated his wish that God keep the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin unshaken, granting success to the Church-building activities and vibrancy of the Holy Armenian Apostolic Church.
The welcoming service ended with blessings and the Lord’s Prayer by the Catholicos of All Armenians and the Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia.