HIS HOLINESS KAREKIN II VISITS SPECIAL-CARE ORPHANAGE IN NOR KHARBERD

AZG Armenian Daily
03/05/2006

On the afternoon of Sunday, April 9, His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme
Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, visited the special-care
orphanage in the city of Nor Kharberd. His Holiness brought his
Pontifical blessings and fatherly love to the 240 mentally and
physically handicapped children residing in the orphanage who do not
have the opportunity to attend church services on a regular basis.

Upon his arrival in Nor Kharberd, His Holiness was greeted by
Minister of Labor and Social Services Aghvan Vartanian; the Dean of
the orphanage, Mr.

Haroutiun Balasanian; and the dedicated staff of the center. They
accompanied His Holiness as he first visited the bedrooms of those
children who could not be moved due to medical reasons. The Catholicos
offered a prayer and gave his blessing to all of the children as he
presented each one with a small cross.

On the occasion of the visit of the Pontiff of All Armenians, a special
program had been prepared by the children of the Armenian Church Youth
Center of Nor Nork, operating under the auspices of the Mother See of
Holy Etchmiadzin and the AGBU. The dean of the orphanage welcomed the
Catholicos and his accompanying clergymen, stating that their visit and
blessings would help the children withstand their physical ailments and
emotional pain with greater courage. In appreciation for the musical
and dance program presented by the Youth Center, the children of the
orphanage also presented a program filled with songs and music.

His Holiness addressed his message of blessing to the children and
stated, "We wanted to visit the Nor Kharberd Orphanage because we
know that our dear children living here do not have the opportunity
to come and visit our churches and participate in our services. We
came to bring with us our love for you and our blessings from Holy
Etchmiadzin and to tell you, our boys and girls, that we love you,
we are grateful and proud of you."

His Holiness also addressed his message of appreciation to the dean
and the staff of the center, noting, "We all know that the message
of Christ is the message of love. We know that God created the world
through His love and that guided by that same love, He sent His Only
Begotten Son to save the world. As St.

Paul says, 'Love never fails', and as we know from our faith - Love
conquers all.", stated His Holiness, asking for God to strengthen the
staff and volunteers of the orphanage, granting them unending love
and patience, so that they may transmit the warmth of their spirits to
the children and lighten the burdens placed upon these innocent souls.

At the conclusion of the visit, His Holiness offered a service
for blessing children prepared especially for this day. Prior to
His Holiness' departure, the children of the Nor Nork Youth Center
distributed presents which they had prepared for the children of the
Nor Kharberd Orphanage.