Assembly of Supreme Spiritual Council is over

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On May 17-18, the assembly of the Supreme Spiritual Council, under the chairmanship of His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, continued at the Prelacy of the Armenian Diocese of Russia and New Nakhichevan, reported the information system of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin to Hayern Aysor.

The joint sessions of the assembly were chaired by Primate of the U.S. Western Diocese, His Grace, Fr. Archbishop Hovnan Derderian.

During the assembly, the Supreme Spiritual Council considered the modified draft of the statute of the National-Ecclesiastical Assembly enforced in 1945. Member of the Standing Committee on Statutes, Doctor of Legal Sciences, Professor Gevorg Danielyan presented a report on this, while member of the Committee, Head of the Divan of the Mother See, His Grace, Fr. Bishop Arshak Khachatryan gave explanations.

After the consideration, the Supreme Spiritual Council accepted the work that had been done and assigned to submit the draft approved with the blessing of the Supreme Patriarch to the Ecclesiastical-Representative Assembly to be held in June.

His Grace, Fr. Archbishop Nathan Hovhannisyan provided information about the preparations for the Ecclesiastical-Representative Assembly to be held at the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin on 6-9 June 2017. Hovhannisyan is also a member of the organizing committee for the Assembly. The members of the Supreme Spiritual Council accepted the work and gave assignments.

During the assembly, Vicar of the Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople, His Grace, Fr. Archbishop Garegin Bekchyan delivered a report on the current difficult situation facing the Patriarchate. The Supreme Spiritual Council expressed concern about the situation created at the Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople when the selected vicar of the Patriarch doesn’t have the opportunity to fulfill his duties. The Supreme Spiritual Council expressed support to the Vicar of the Patriarch and urged the clergy and the national figures to work in a peaceful environment and make great efforts to find good solutions to the situation along with the relevant state institutions.

Touching upon the position of Fr. Archbishop Aram Ateshian in this process, the Supreme Spiritual Council considered it necessary to urge the Archbishop to, governed by the rules and procedures of the Armenian Church, support the Patriarchal Vicar-elect and take necessary steps to get everything back on track.

The Supreme Spiritual Council also examined the programs for the celebrations dedicated to Year of Youth in 2018. During the assembly of the Supreme Spiritual Council held in New York back in 2016, a decision was made to declare the year 2018 as Year of Youth.

In relation to this, Fr. Archbishop Hovnan Derderian delivered a report on the activities being carried out. He informed that there would be youth events and meetings, the young members of the Dioceses of the world would also participate in a three-day pilgrimage to Armenia and the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin. The three-day meeting will end with the Holy Mass.

At the end of the three-day assembly of the Supreme Spiritual Council, Primate of the Armenian Diocese of Russia and New Nakhichevan, Fr. Archbishop Yezras Nersisyan delivered a report on the Diocese and expressed gratitude to the Catholicos of All Armenians for holding the subsequent session of the Board at the Armenian Diocese of Russia and New Nakhichevan.

His Holiness Yezras briefly presented the history of the establishment of the Armenian Diocese in Russia and the current activities of the Diocese. During the years of his leadership, the Diocese registered 83 parishes, the number of churches went from 7 to 41, and the number of spiritual servants grew by 26. Fifteen churches are under construction, nine of which will be consecrated and opened in 2017 as part of the events dedicated to the 300th anniversary of the establishment of the Diocese.

His Holiness touched upon the spiritual and cultural life within the Diocese and added that the consecration of the new Holy Glorification Church of Moscow (Prelacy) and the opening of a new church complex highly contributed to that. Within the scope of spiritual ceremonies and advocacy efforts, the Diocese organizes pilgrimages to the cathedral in Moscow and various communities, and the Prelacy hosts religious meetings.

The newly created center for Armenian studies promotes the scientific and cultural life within the Diocese, which regularly hosts lectures, conferences and book presentations. The Diocese has established the Tapan Museum and a library equipped with the latest technologies. The Armenian-populated cities publish four bilingual monthlies and have released over two dozens of books.

Secondary School #259 is based in Saint Petersburg, and more than 3,000 children attend 18 Armenian youth centers and various clubs. Established in 2006, the “Hayordats Toon” Armenian School/Center of Moscow has educated 8,000 young Armenians over the past ten years. The Saint Gregory of Narek Gymnasium will soon open its doors in the premises of the church complex in Moscow, and construction of a kindergarten/school will be launched. His Holiness informed that there are youth unions in all parishes, and meetings are organized with Armenian students of Moscow’s universities.

His Holiness noted that the Diocese participates in the Armenian Church’s benevolent programs in Armenia and abroad and provides great assistance to Artsakh. Social support and free legal consulting divisions operate within the complex, benefiting not only Armenians, but also foreigners. There are also two medical institutions, including a dentist’s office in Saint Petersburg and a medical center in Moscow where the needy are provided with services free-of-charge.

The members of the Supreme Spiritual Council accepted the report with satisfaction and expressed their appreciation of the pro-national and pro-church programs that are being carried out by the Diocese. The participants of the assembly asked God to support His Holiness and the clergy in their devoted and beneficial service.

The assembly ended with the blessing and words of appreciation of the Catholicos of All Armenians.