First Day of Pontifical Visit of His Holiness Karekin II to Turkey

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]
June 21, 2006

First Day of Pontifical Visit of His Holiness Karekin II to Turkey

On the evening of June 20, His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch
and Catholicos of All Armenians arrived in Istanbul on his first
Pontifical Visit to Turkey.  Upon arrival at the Istanbul airport,
His Holiness and his entourage were greeted by His Beatitude
Archbishop Mesrob Mutafian, Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople;
high-ranking clergy of the Armenian Patriarchate; two metropolitan
archbishops representing the Greek Ecumenical Patriarchate; Mr. Karen
Mirzoyan, Representative of the Republic of Armenia in Turkey; and
representatives of the Armenian community of Istanbul.

During the official reception and dinner at the Armenian Patriarchate,
His Beatitude Mesrob greeted the Catholicos of All Armenians and
welcomed him and his accompanying clergymen to Istanbul.  His Holiness
Karekin II offered thanks to Almighty God for having granted him
this opportunity to be in Istanbul for a Pontifical Visit, to meet
the faithful Armenian people of this historic city and extend to
them blessings and love from the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin. 
His Holiness also noted his happiness for the fraternal visit to the
Ecumenical Greek Patriarch, His All Holiness Bartholomew I.

On the morning of June 21, the Pontiff of All Armenians, accompanied
by His Beatitude Mesrob Mutafian and the members of the pontifical
entourage, visited the headquarters of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and
participated in Morning Services at the Greek Mother Cathedral.  At
the conclusion of morning services, His Holiness and the Armenian
delegation were escorted to the throne room of the Ecumenical
Patriarchate during the singing of the Armenian Church hymn, "Rejoice,
O Church".

In the presence of the members of Holy Synod of the Greek Church,
Ecumenical Patriarch His All Holiness Bartholomew I, greeted His
Holiness Karekin II with a fraternal embrace, followed by his official
and warm address of welcome.

Thereafter, the Catholicos of All Armenians extended his greetings of
love to the Ecumenical Patriarch, noting in part, "…Our predecessors
of blessed memory have visited Your All Holiness and your revered
predecessors.  Today, we are visiting you with brotherly love and a
joyous heart.  We are visiting a people and a Church, who share with
us the inheritance of Christ, His witness and His love.  We visit a
Church, with whom we have shared a history of accomplishments and
achievements, persecutions, suffering and martyrdom, prayer and
witness, and which is alive in our hearts and minds today.  We are
visiting a Church, which through her rich past and present, continues
the testimony of the Lord with love and peace.

"By visiting Your All Holiness, we are confident, that through our
prayers and discussions, and during our meetings, we will enjoy the
gifts of the love and brotherhood of Christ, which we shall transmit
as a blessing to our faithful sons and daughters."

In his remarks, the Catholicos of All Armenians also recalled the
historic visit of the Ecumenical Patriarch to Armenia in November
of 2001, during the jubilee festivities surrounding the 1700th
Anniversary of Official Christianity in Armenia.  His Holiness
offered prayers to heaven, asking God to "illuminate and provide
warmth with the peace flowing from the Eternal Light of the world,
to the souls and hearts of all, benefiting the strengthening of our
faith, and the reinforcement of peace, reconciliation and friendship
among all nations, religions and churches, founded upon the timeless
principles of justice and truth."

His Holiness Karekin II concluded his remarks by praying for the
cooperation between the two Churches to greater flourish under the
blessings and protection of our Lord Jesus Christ, for the love and
glory of His Holy Church.

At the conclusion of the official reception, a personal meeting
occurred between the two delegations, whereupon general inter-church
and specifically Armenian and Greek relations were discussed.

Later that day, the Ecumenical Patriarch hosted the Armenian delegation
to an official lunch organized in honor of the Catholicos of All


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