Catholicos Of All Armenians Begins Pontifical Visit To Armenian Patr


of June 22, having concluded the Fraternal Visit to the Ecumenical
Patriarchate and His All Holiness Bartholomew I, the Catholicos
of All Armenians officially began the Pontifical Visit to the
Armenian Patriarchate and the Armenian community of Istanbul. His
Holiness and the pontifical entourage visited the Mother Cathedral of
St. Astvatsatsin (Holy Mother of God) in Kumkapi, Istanbul, and were
greeted by a "Hrashapar" service welcoming the Pontiff. In attendance
were high-ranking clergy of the Armenian Patriarchate, representatives
of Sister Churches, Mr. Karen Mirzoyan (Representative of the
Republic of Armenia in Turkey), and countless Armenian faithful,
many who had come to see the Catholicos of All Armenians for the
first time. According to the information system of Mother See of Holy
Etchmiadzin, following the traditional service of greeting a hierarch,
His Beatitude Archbishop Mesrob Mutafian, Armenian Patriarch of
Constantinople, warmly greeted the Catholicos of All Armenians and
welcomed him to Istanbul on behalf of the Armenian Patriarchate, the
clergy and faithful. His Beatitude then invited His Holiness to offer
his words of blessing to the assembled. His Holiness addressed his
message of blessing and love, stating in part, "…We are with you
now with our prayers of thanksgiving and praise. At this historic
and emotional moment, we turn our gaze to heaven with the prayer
of our holy forefathers: ‘King of Peace, Our Lord Jesus Christ,
keep and protect Your people under Your holy and revered Cross in
peace’. "This cherished prayer has resounded throughout the halls of
this sanctuary for centuries as well. It has been uttered from the lips
of many courageous and glorious clergymen, who became martyrs of the
faith; the good shepherds who devoted their lives to God for the flock
entrusted to them, and with the life-giving light of faith, led them to
creativity, loyalty and fidelity. Five Patriarchs of Constantinople,
by the will of God and the nation, were called to become Catholicos
of All Armenians – the first servant of our Holy Church. Only after
kneeling down before this Holy Altar and asking for the intercession
of the Holy Mother of God on behalf of the Armenian nation, did they
depart to sit on the Throne of the Illuminator. In difficult times,
our luminous and brave-hearted Pontiffs protected our people and
kept them gathered around Holy Etchmiadzin with the hope and belief
in salvation. And now from the Throne of the Illuminator – the holy
cradle of our faith – Holy Etchmiadzin, we have come to see you, our
dearly beloved sons and daughters, to extend our blessings and love
to you all. We have come so that Pontiff and flock can be united once
again with the same oath of our holy fathers, and unite our prayers to
their appeals for the peace of mankind and for keeping all Armenians
dispersed throughout the world reinforced in faith and unified. "…For
six hundred years, the churches of the Armenian Patriarchate kept
the belief in Christ and hope of salvation alive and vibrant in the
souls of our people. For six hundred years, our mother tongue was
proclaimed undefiled in our schools, where our national traditions
transformed into the spirit of our people. Connected with the Armenian
Patriarchate of Constantinople are the brightest achievements of
our culture – in literature, art, music and architecture… "It
is with these emotions that we have come to visit you, to see our
ancient, incense-filled churches, which remain vibrant through your
presence. We came to see our educational and cultural institutions,
which continue to remain alight through your vigilant efforts. We came
to bless your lives, to encourage your devoted spirits, your resolute
will and selfless allegiance, through which you are firmly standing
on the foundation-stone established by Saint Gregory our Illuminator,
keeping the light of Holy Etchmiadzin sparkling in your souls, which
has always shined and glowed in the monasteries and churches of the
Patriarchate. "We have brought the boundless yearning and love of the
Mother See of All Armenians to you, dear faithful, and greetings from
your brothers and sisters in Armenia, Artsakh and the Dispersion,
who are always with you in their warmest of prayers. We have also
brought the optimism of the reborn new life of our homeland, and our
people’s hopes for strengthening our unified spiritual and cultural
life. Our Church is strong and alive with all of her children, and
steadfast in the path of her mission, which is the same yesterday,
today and always – to lead the small flock of the Armenians toward
the life-giving and saving light of faith, toward God Who makes peace
and creates beneficence. Let us stay loyal to the Holy Gospel of our
Lord, loyal to our Holy Church, and loyal to our inherited appeal for
peace." In his remarks, His Holiness also offered prayers to heaven,
asking for God to grant rest to the souls of the Armenian Patriarchs
of Constantinople of blessed memory, as well as long years of health
and fruitful reign to His Beatitude Archbishop Mesrob Mutafian. At
the conclusion of the service, the special Pontifical Encyclical of
the Catholicos of All Armenians was read, wherein His Grace Bishop
Aram Ateshian, a member of the Brotherhood of Holy Etchmiadzin and
the Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople, was elevated to the
rank of "Archbishop" by His Holiness Karekin II. Archbishop Ateshian
was commended by the Pontiff of All Armenians for his devotion and
efforts as Chairman of the Religious Council and Sacristan of the
Armenian Patriarchate.

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