Armenian Church Representatives Elected to World Council of Churches

Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, Information Services
Address: Vagharshapat, Republic of Armenia
Contact: Rev. Fr. Ktrij Devejian
Tel: (374 10) 517 163
Fax: (374 10) 517 301
E-Mail: [email protected]
March 13, 2006

Armenian Church Representatives Elected to World Council of Churches Central

In the month of February, under the auspices of and with the Pontifical
blessings of His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos
of All Armenians, a high-ranking delegation of clergymen and laymen
representing the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, attended the Ninth
Assembly of the World Council of Churches (WCC) in Porto Alegre,
Brazil. Leading the delegation was His Grace Bishop Yeznik Petrosian,
Director of Inter-Church Relations for the headquarters of the Armenian
Apostolic Church.

The Assembly brought together member churches of the WCC to reaffirm
their fellowship, engage in discussions and to take counsel with one
another. The theme of the Assembly was “God, in Your Grace, transform
the word.”

The delegates for the Armenian Church were: His Eminence Archbishop
Aghan Baliozian, Primate of the Armenian Diocese of Australia and
New Zealand; His Grace Bishop Vicken Aykazian, Diocesan Legate of
the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern); His Grace
Bishop Bagrat Galstanian, Primate of the Armenian Diocese of Canada;
Rev. Fr. Mkrtich Proshian, Dean of the Vaskenian Theological Seminary
at Lake Sevan (Armenia); Rev. Fr. Hovakim Manukian, Office Director
of the Department for Inter-Church Relations, Mother See of Holy
Etchmiadzin; Rev. Fr. Shahe Ananian, Staff Bearer to the Catholicos
of All Armenians, Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin; Rev. Fr. Vahram
Melikian, Director of Information Services, Mother See of Holy
Etchmiadzin; Dr. Karen Nazarian, Director of the Armenian Round Table
Office (Armenia); Dr. Hacik Rafi Gazer, Director of the Theological
Faculty Martin Luther University, Halle-Withenberg (Germany); Deacon
Robert Tashjian, Youth Ministry from the Armenian Diocese of Egypt;
Mrs. Paula Devejian, Director of Internet Development, Mother See of
Holy Etchmiadzin; Miss Naira Martirossian, Project Manager, Armenian
Ecumenical Resource Center (Armenia); Miss Gayane Alexanian, Department
for Inter-Church Relations, Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin; Miss Lilit
Antonian, Secretary, Catholicosate of All Armenians; and Miss Izabel
Genjian from the Armenian Diocese of Brazil who participated in the
Assembly as a youth delegate. The delegation was one of the youngest
Orthodox groups in attendance.

Members of the delegation took an active participation in the Assembly
in many areas. Rev. Fr. Ananian attended the Youth Pre-Assembly
and Mrs. Devejian attended the Women’s Pre-Assembly. Abp. Aghan
Baliozian served on the Assembly Committee for “Consensus Decision
Making”, which worked to implement a new procedural method of voting,
which was adopted for the first time at the Assembly. Bp. Vicken
Aikazian served on the Assembly “Message” Committee, which developed
and presented a document that captured the experience and hopes of
those gathered in Porto Alegre. Bp. Yeznik Petrosian was a Moderator
during a 3-day workshop entitled “Emerging Forms of Ecumenism” as well
as served on the assembly “Business Committee” which coordinated the
daily business of the assembly. Rev. Fr. Proshian presented a workshop
entitled “Through the Creation to the Creator”, which introduced a
new concept of ecological education from a theological perspective
referred to as “Green Theology”. Dr. Nazarian presented a paper in
one of the workshops entitled “HIV/AIDS – Involvement of clergy in
counseling, stigma and discrimination”, as well as served on the
assembly nominating committee which was responsible for identifying
candidates for the election of presidents and new members of the WCC
Central Committee from among the delegates. Mrs. Devejian served
on a leadership team in a three-day workshop entitled “Overcoming
health threats to humanity in the context of HIV and AIDS”, as well
as spoke during the final general plenary session on the topic of
“God in Your Grace, transform our societies”. In addition to these
activities, delegates attended specific regional, Orthodox, youth and
women’s issues meetings, as well as attended workshops on the Middle
East and various lectures on subjects of importance to the world-wide
Armenian Church.

During the business sessions, the assembly delegates accepted the
strategic and planning activities for the upcoming seven years for
the WCC, and presented a final general resolution. The Assembly
also produced six communiques, related to Latin America, defense,
the reconfiguration of the United Nations, water issues, terrorism
and human rights, and the elimination of nuclear weapons.

The final sessions were highlighted by new elections to the WCC. First
was the election of the eight regional presidents of the WCC,
representing the family of Christian Churches. Elected to represent
the Oriental (Ancient) Orthodox Church family was His Holiness Abba
Paulos, Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.

The same afternoon, the delegates elected a new Central Committee
to serve for the next seven years. Elected to represent the Armenian
Church and the Catholicosate of All Armenians were His Grace Bishop
Aykazian (USA) and Mrs. Paula Devejian (Armenia).

On the final day of the Assembly, the Central Committee elected the
new 20-member Executive Committee. Among those elected was His Grace
Bishop Vicken Aykazian. Elected as the new Moderator for the WCC is
Rev. Dr. Walter Altmann from the Evangelical Church of the Lutheran
Confession in Brazil (IECLB).

The Armenian Church delegates returned to Holy Etchmiadzin and their
respective dioceses at the end of February.