PRESS RELEASE
Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, Information Services
Address: Vagharshapat, Republic of Armenia
Contact: Rev. Fr. Ktrij Devejian
Tel: (374 1) 517 163
Fax: (374 1) 517 301
E-Mail: [email protected]
April 2, 2004

Supreme Spiritual Council Meeting in the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin

>From March 31 to April 2, the regular session of the Supreme Spiritual
Council convened in the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, under the presidency
of His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All
Armenians.

The first session of the meeting opened with the Lord's Prayer and the
welcome message of His Holiness. The members of the Supreme Spiritual
Council offered prayers up to God, asking for the repose of the souls of
five high ranking clergymen of the Armenian Church who entered their eternal
rest since the last Council session: His Eminence Archbishop Zaven
Chinchinian of the Brotherhood of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, a
member of the Supreme Spiritual Council and Primate of Egypt; His Grace
Bishop Guregh Kapigian of the Brotherhood of St. James in Jerusalem, His
Eminence Archbishop Mesrob Ashjian of the Catholicosate of Cilicia, His
Eminence Archbishop Sahag Aivazian of the Catholicosate of Cilicia; and Very
Rev. Fr. Manuel Yergatian of the Brotherhood of St. James in Jerusalem.

The meeting sessions were co-chaired by the two senior members of the
Council, His Eminence Archbishop Vatche Hovsepian and His Eminence
Archbishop Kude Nakkashian. The three-day agenda included a number of
matters concerning the national-ecclesiastical life of the Armenian Church
and people.

Among the issues related to diocesan life, the Council expressed its
satisfaction regarding the positive outcome of the undesirable situation
that had been created in the Armenian Diocese of Russia and New Nakhijevan.
They further expressed their contentment that the primate, His Grace Bishop
Yezras Nersissian, is now in the process of organizing the lives of the
faithful around the Church.

Abp. Kude Nakkashian, Pontifical Legate to Western Europe and Primate of
Paris, presented his report regarding the reorganization of the diocesan
structures in France. His Eminence stated that the new draft constitution
for the diocese has been presented to the Pontiff of All Armenians. The
Council, in response to the suggestion of His Holiness, created a special
commission to review the document and present its report.

The Supreme Spiritual Council also discussed the establishment of a
parallel, anti-canonical diocesan administrative structure by the
Catholicosate of the Great House of Cilicia within the Armenian Diocese of
Canada. The Council has issued a communique stating their position
regarding this matter, wherein it is stated: "The Mother See once again
fraternally calls on the Catholicosate of Cilicia to sound judgment,
welcoming every step directed to overcoming the discord and the
reestablishment of the canonical status within the Armenian Church, and
invites her children to be zealous and unified on the road of the settlement
of disunity - a rift born from the dictates of difficult times, and in
effect for half a century."

During the three-day meeting, the Council members also discussed events
which shall take place in the coming year. Among them are the 1600th
Anniversary celebration of the Discovery of the Armenian Alphabet, and the
commemoration of the 90th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. It was
further decided to solemnly commemorate the 10th Anniversary of the death of
His Holiness Vasken I, Catholicos of All Armenians, of blessed memory.

At the conclusion of the final session of the meeting, the members offered
prayers up to heaven, asking God to always guard and protect Armenia, and to
keep all Armenians dispersed throughout the world in love, brotherhood and
solidarity. Being led by the Glorious Resurrection of the Savior, they
prayed for the strengthening of the homeland and progress for all Armenians.

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