PRESS RELEASE
Catholicosate of Cilicia
Communication and Information Department
Contact: V.Rev.Fr. Krikor Chiftjian, Communications Officer
Tel: (04) 410001, 410003
Fax: (04) 419724
E- mail: [email protected]
Web: http://www.cathcil.org/

PO Box 70 317
Antelias-Lebanon

Armenian version: http://www.cathcil.org/v04/doc/Armenian.htm

For the full text of His Holiness Aram I's message in Aremnian click here:
http://www.cathcil.org/v04/doc/Pontifical Messages/messages29.htm


A GRAND CEREMONY MARKS HIS HOLINESS ARAM I'S AND THE SEMINARY'S JUBILEES



ARAM I ASSURES THAT SERVICE IS THE EXISTENTIAL PURPOSE OF THE CATHOLICOSATE
OF CILICIA


The 75th anniversary of the establishment of the Catholicosate of Cilicia's
Seminary and the 10th anniversary of His Holiness Aram I's enthronement were
marked in a grand ceremony in the hall of the "General Emile Lahoud Center"
on June 27 in Antelias.

The jubilee ceremony was organized by the Armenian Prelacy of Lebanon under
the patronage of His Holiness Aram I. Members of the Cilician Brotherhood,
representatives of the Diocese, delegates from political, educational,
cultural and charity organizations and unions, MPs Hagop Pakradouni and
George Kasargi, minister Alain Tabourian, former MPs and ministers,
representatives from the sister denominations, the ambassador of Armenian HE
Arek Hovhannisian, as well as Lebanese-Armenian intellectuals,
philanthropists and friends of the prelacy and the Catholicosate and a huge
crowd attended the ceremony.

The ceremony officially commenced with the Lebanese and Armenian anthems,
after which Bishop Kegham Khatcherian, the primate of the Diocese of
Lebanon, welcomed and greeted His Holiness and the attendants.

The bishop pointed out that the two jubilees, both milestones in the
Catholicosate of Cilicia's mission, are bound for the same aim.

"The past 75 years and particularly the last decade have had a unique
influence on the history of Antelias, because words were transformed into
action and action into service in our church's and nation's life during this
time," said Bishop Khatcherian.

"Just as the times of the seminary's establishment were not easy, the past
decade since His Holiness' enthronement has not been calm on the national,
international, ecumenical and other front; rather, they have been
characterized by challenges to our Church and nation, he added.

Bishop Khatcherian stated that His Holiness Aram I had been able to overcome
these challenges and become both the servant and the protector of his
people. The Bishop highlighted the importance attached to the
Lebanese-Armenians by the Catholicosate of Cilicia, pointing out that the
jubilee ceremony was also an expression of respect and a response by
Lebanese-Armenians to the Catholicos' call.

A video cassette reflecting the fruitful activities of the Catholicosate
during the past decade was shown to the public. It presented the audience
with information on various initiatives, ecumenical activities and
construction projects accomplished by the Catholicosate, the Seminary and
the Catholicos.

Lebanese-Armenian intellectuals Jirair Tanielian and Sarkis Giragosian spoke
about the two jubilees during the event. Tanielian talked about the past and
current irrefutable merit of the seminary, an institution, the national and
spiritual education of which continues to benefit the Armenian nation.

Tanielian highlighted the impressive number of students who have received
their education at the Seminary.

"During the last 75 years, the light emanating from the Seminary went beyond
the Middle East, reaching Europe, the Americas and Canada, so the will and
faith to live as Armenians can be strengthened. The wheat seed that was
thrown into Lebanon fell in a fertile land. The role played by the Seminary
in this respect has been great during the last 75 years and will be
continued in the coming decades," he said.

Tanielian spoke about the growth and progress of an institution, which
became fortress for the formation of intellectuals and spiritual leaders,
provided Catholicoi, archbishops, vartabeds, deacons, servants of the church
and nation and teachers. Mentioning the most well-known seminaries in
history, Tanielian assured that the Catholicosate of Cilicia's Seminary was
also established for the same purposes and mission and based on the same
principles.

Sarkis Giragosian outlined the achievements accomplished during the
relatively short tenure of His Holiness Aram I in the past decade. He
pointed out that His Holiness Aram I, who has been active on the national
front, at the same time conquering international spheres, today is the pride
of not only the Catholicosate of Cilicia and the Armenian Church, but the
whole Armenian nation.

"This grand ceremony is not an ordinary event; rather it's the collective
reassurance of our loyalty to His Holiness Aram I. The moment he made his
oath as a spiritual leader, Catholicos Aram I chose service as his primary
goal and became a glowing presence in our nation's life," said he.

Giragosian pointed out that the Catholicos not only transformed words into
action, but also influenced and set an example to the people gathered around
him, intellectuals, the youth, even the elderly, teens and children, by his
activeness.

"His Holiness embodies not only the breaths of our late Catholicoi, but also
the spirit of our 1700 year old church," said Giragosian.

His Holiness Aram I attributed all the praises addressed to himself to God,
who had given him the strength and vigor to keep lit the torch passed on to
him by the nation and church.

"My heart is filled with happiness not because of what was said, but because
what I see here in front of me, your presence. Let all those who want to see
the Lebanese-Armenians weakened come here and see this. As Catholicos of
Cilicia, I bow with respect in front of the collective will of the
Armenians," said His Holiness Aram I.

Speaking about the last 75 years, His Holiness reminded the attendants of
the late well-known Catholicos Sahag II's legacy regarding the keeping or
the closing down of the Catholicosate, and in response, the worldwide
Armenians' request for retaining and advancing Antelias.

The Pontiff pointed out that a seminary has been established in place of the
orphanage that existed in the 1930s, and the emptiness of those days has
been replaced by mission of faith. His Holiness dedicated the two jubilees
to all those who have worked in the past and those who still work for the
centuries-old Cilician mission. He particularly highlighted the role of
members of the Cilician Brotherhood, members of the Executive Council
central, philanthropists, teachers and dedicated people "who gave something
from their intellectual ability, their time and their pocket to the treasury
of this Holy See."

Aram I concluded by emphasizing that the word service has become a synonym
to Antelias. "If Antelias felt proud, it did so only due to its service,"
assured His Holiness adding that this pilgrimage of service will continue.

The Catholicos mentioned the national-religious priorities of the Armenians:
collaboration between Etchmiadzine and Antelias, cooperation between Armenia
and the Diaspora, based always on the Armenians' interests and immediate
needs.

His Holiness emphasized the importance of keeping pace with time and making
progress through self-criticism, so mistakes can be corrected.

The seminary's choir entertained the audience with "Khosk im Vortoun",
"Nanor" and "Sipana Katcher", "Cilicia" and "Eeveh Partsants".

##

View pictures here:
http://www.cathcil.org/v04/doc/Photos/Pictures30.htm
http://www.cathcil.org/v04/doc/Photos/Pictures31.htm
http://www.cathcil.org/v04/doc/Photos/Pictures32.htm

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The Armenian Catholicosate of Cilicia is one of the two Catholicosates of
the Armenian Orthodox Church. For detailed information about the history and
the mission of the Cilician Catholicosate, you may refer to the web page of
the Catholicosate, http://www.cathcil.org/ The Cilician Catholicosate, the
administrative center of the church is located in Antelias, Lebanon.