Time in Yerevan: 11:07:36,   19 December

President Sargsyan hosts members of Supreme Spiritual Council

YEREVAN, FEBRUARY 20, ARMENPRESS. President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan on February 20 hosted the members of the Supreme Spiritual Council, the highest governing body of the Armenian Apostolic Church, at the Presidential Palace who are taking part in the session of the Supreme Spiritual Council in the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin from February 20 to 23, the Presidential Office told Armenpress.

The President of the Council is Catholicos of All Armenians and the chairmen are the Armenian Patriarchs of Jerusalem and Istanbul.

President Sargsyan welcomed the members of the Council and highlighted the importance of the decisions of the Council not only in the church and spiritual, but also in the public life.

“I always remember that the Armenian Apostolic Church is the oldest ever-existing and constantly operating structure in the Armenian reality and during this period the Armenian Apostolic Church just had an irreplaceable contribution in all spheres of our people’s life. Having such an experience, of course, I am convinced that you always take steps that are perceivable and acceptable for our people. I am confident you see that the world is rapidly developing, and during this period there are also opportunities in line with challenges. Of course, in order to be able to use these opportunities for the benefit of our state and people, we need to counter those challenges. I am sure the steps taken by you are directed for this purpose.

Your Holiness, Dear members of the Council, I would like to be informed about the session agenda, the discussed issues, and of course, about your considerations, especially in connection with the events dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the First Republic and the May heroic battles. These notifications are very important for us. Of course, we are free to discuss different issues, taking into account the fact that a long time has passed after our previous meeting. Once again I warmly welcome you all here”, the President said and discussed with the meeting participants pan-national issues, answered their questions.

On behalf of the Council and personally himself the Catholicos of All Armenians thanked the President for the warm reception and presented the issues that will be discussed at the first session of the Supreme Spiritual Council this year, which, according to His Holiness, include issues relating to national, church life in addition the report about the activity of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin.

“You know that today one of the most concerning issues are the ongoing events within the Armenian Patriarchate of Istanbul, the current situation is a priority issue in the agenda of our Supreme Spiritual Council. As you mentioned, our agenda also includes the issue relating to the events dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the Republic of Armenia and the May heroic battles. We, as well as the Catholicos Aram, addressed an encyclical which was read in our dioceses across the world, in our churches, and numerous events, publications, scientific conferences should be held and organized.

We have a commission which must present other proposals at this meeting which should be discussed and adopted by the Supreme Spiritual Council. During today’s meeting the charter of the Supreme Spiritual Council should be studied. As you know, we launched the process of improving our church life, the activity of its governance bodies together with the Supreme Spiritual Council. We also have another important issue: we made a decision in the Supreme Spiritual Council to declare 2018 as a youth year”, the Catholicos of All Armenians said.

“Mr. President, it’s a great pleasure for us to affirm that the church-state relations have always been close, but in particular over the past years they are on the rise thanks to your caring attitude. Our church as well is guided by the same interests as the Armenian authorities, those are issues relating to the preservation of our national identity, strengthening of our statehood, peaceful, safe, secure and prosperous life of our country which are an important part of our vision and activity. I am happy to say that thanks to the support of the local authorities our church during this period, in those years of independence, managed to overcome all historical calamities faced by suffering great losses. To mention numbers let’s inform that during the years of the Genocide and Stalin dictatorship we have lost nearly 3000 churches, even counting 4000 churches and 4000-5000 clergymen during the period of these persecutions. Today we were not able to recover one fourth or even one fifth of these losses. But the achievements recorded in particular during this period of independence, inspire us optimism and hope that we should be able to indirectly carry out our church’s mission in the life of our people by ensuring presence at all spheres of national life”, the Catholicos of All Armenians said, wishing the President good health and productive service to the Fatherland and the people.

During the meeting President Serzh Sargsyan handed over high state awards to Vicar of Araratian Patriarchal Diocese Archbishop Navasard Kchoyan, Primate of the US Western Diocese of the Armenian Church Archbishop Hovnan Derderian and Primate of the US Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church Archbishop Khajak Parsamian for the contribution in preserving and developing national and spiritual values.

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