Primate travels to Rome for international gathering

Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern)
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February 10, 2005


Promoting ecumenicalism and dialogue between religions and
denominations, Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Diocese of
the Armenian Church of America (Eastern), has traveled from
Massachusetts, to Rome, and back to New York.

The Diocese’s recent ecumenical efforts highlighted new affiliations,
in-depth discussions, and on-going successes.


The Primate was in Needham, MA, on Wednesday, January 19, 2005, to
attend a meeting of the Massachusetts Council of Churches. During the
meeting of the 103-year-old organization, the Armenian Church officially
became a member.

The Primate and delegates from various parishes in Massachusetts spoke
to the current council members about the Armenian Church, its history,
and faith. Being a member of the Massachusetts Council of Churches
gives the Diocese an official role in dialogues and efforts to build
bonds among the faithful.

“When the Armenian Church came to America, we began to lay down roots in
Massachusetts, so this state is important to us as a Diocese. It is our
home base,” the Primate said. “And now we have taken the official step
to be closer to our neighbors, and more involved in their pious


Subsequently, the Primate traveled to Rome, where he met with Oriental
Orthodox and Roman Catholic leaders at the second meeting of the
Catholic-Oriental Orthodox International Joint Commission for Dialogue.
The meetings ran from Tuesday, January 25 to Sunday, January 30.

The first meeting was held last year in Cairo, Egypt. The Mother See of
Holy Etchmiadzin will host next January’s gathering of the group.

This year’s theme was “The Church as Communion” and included panels with
topics such as “The Church as Communion in Early Christian Thought,”
“Full Communion and Degrees of Communion, A Common Ecumenical Goal,”
“Communion — Sister Churches — Church Families,” and “Understanding
Communion, Constitutive Elements of Communion.”

The delegates had an audience with His Holiness Pope John Paul II on
Friday, January 28. In his remarks to the group, the Pope welcomed them
and praised their ecumenical mission.

“I join you in praying that the real bonds of communion between us may
be further strengthened through a spirituality of communion which
contemplates ‘the mystery of the Trinity dwelling in us,’ and sees ‘what
is positive in others, to welcome it and prize it as a gift from God,'”
the Pope said. “I encourage your efforts to foster mutual understanding
and communion between Christians of East and West.”


Back in New York, the Primate hosted a meeting of the Joint Commission
of the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Churches at the Diocesan Center on
February 8, 2005.

The meeting focused on upcoming events being organized by the group,
including the Prayer Service for the United Nations Orthodox Community,
which will take place again next fall at the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox
Cathedral in New York City.

— 2/10/05

E-mail photos available on request. Photos also viewable in the News
and Events section of the Eastern Diocese’s website,

PHOTO CAPTION (1): Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Diocese
of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern), speaks before members of
the Massachusetts Council of Churches, which the Diocese joined on
Wednesday, January 19, 2005.

PHOTO CAPTION (2): As the newest member of the Massachusetts Council of
Churches, the Primate presents the group’s executive director, Rev. Dr.
Diane Kessler, with an Armenian icon.

PHOTO CAPTION (3): Archbishop Barsamian meets with His Holiness Pope
John Paul II during the Catholic-Oriental Orthodox International Joint
Commission for Dialogue meetings at the Vatican from Tuesday, January 25
through Sunday, January 30.

PHOTO CAPTION (4): The Pope addresses the gathering of Oriental
Orthodox and Catholic leaders in the Vatican.

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