Supreme Spiritual Council Meeting in Holy Etchmiadzin
Published - 13 March 2017

On March 7-9, 2017, His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians presided over the Supreme Spiritual Council meeting in the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin.

The meeting was opened with the Lord’s Prayer after which the Catholicos of All Armenians offered his blessings to the participants.

The co-chairmen of the sessions were His Eminence Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America; and His Eminence Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, Primate of the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America.

During the meeting, various canonical, diocesan and community issues were discussed.

At the beginning of the meeting, the Catholicos of All Armenians reported on the recent developments surrounding the Patriarchal electoral process at the Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople. His Holiness informed the Council members about the meetings held in the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin from February 23 to 24, and gave a brief summary on the current situation and the decisions made during the two-day discussions, addressed towards resolutions.

On the first day, Mr. Aso Tavitian, President of the Tavitian Foundation; presented a report on the project to improve the operations of the Armenian Church. The Council was informed that in the coming months, the representatives of the McKinsey & Company global management consulting firm will commence conducting the necessary interviews for the project implementation. He also presented the procedure for the selection of ecclesiastical and secular candidates for the interviews and the results of the questionnaire.

After discussing the results, on behalf of the Council, His Holiness expressed appreciation to Mr. Tavitian and the members of the Executive and Advisory Bodies for the work that had been implemented.

During the session, the Council discussed the Constitutional project of the National-Ecclesiastical Assembly, which has been in use since 1945, that was prepared by the Constitutional Charter Committee. An overview of the project was given by Committee members His Grace Bishop Arshak Khachatryan, Chancellor of Mother See; and Mr. Gevork Danielyan, Doctor and Professor of Legal Sciences.

After examining the documents, the Council members, welcomed the completed work and urged the committee to complete the process, and put the draft up for discussion during the Ecclesiastical-Representative Assembly to be convened in June.

The Committee also presented the draft Constitutional By-laws, which after necessary comments and suggestions, were returned for revision.

His Grace Bishop Bagrat Galstanyan, Primate of the Diocese of Tavoush presented a report on the activities of the Ecclesiastical Liturgical Issues Office of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin. Discussing the results, the members expressing appreciation for the implemented work, and presented their views regarding the further activities of the Office.

His Eminence Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, General Secretary of the Pan-Armenian Church Youth Organization, presented a detailed report regarding the global activities of the ACYO.

His Grace Bishop Vahan Hovhannisyan, Pontifical Legate of Western Europe, reported on the Armenian communities under the jurisdiction of the Western Europe Pontifical Legate

Issues related to the Belgian, Dutch, Italian and Spanish community life were separately discussed. In this regard, reports were also presented by Rev. Fr. Zatik Avetikyan, Vicar of the Pontifical Legate in Belgium and Rev. Fr. Aren Shahinyan, Vicar of Pontifical Legate in the Netherlands.

The Council expressed gratitude to the Pontifical Legate of Western Europe for the activities implemented towards the establishment of parishes, and advised him to continue efforts towards strengthening the canonical foundation of religious communities.

The 2016 activity report and financial report for the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin was presented during the meeting.

It was reported that the Catholicosate of All Armenians has 753 clergymen, -52 Archbishops and Bishops, 51 Very Reverend and Reverend Fathers, 35 monks, 480 married priests and 138 deacons.

In 2016, 930 employees worked for the Mother See; 1,193 in the Diocese of Armenia and Artsakh and 4,005 in the Diasporan Dioceses and Pontifical Legates.

There were 283 students studying in the religious-educational institutions of Mother See, -100 in the Gevorkian Theological Seminary; 79 in the Vaskenian Theological Academy at Lake Sevan; 34 in the Harichavank Trpanchyan High School; 25 in the accelerated clergy training course; 45 students in the Armenian Collage and Philanthropic Academy in Calcutta and Davidian Girl’s School. 383 students attend the Eurnekian Public School; 45 infants attend the Eurnekian kindergarten; and 270 students in the Gevork Emin School.

Last year, the Mother See continued to extensively promote activities in various areas of national life: in general education area, among the youth; youth centers; RA Armed Forces and Penitentiary Institutions.

51 spiritual servants were serving in the Republic of Armenia Armed Forces Chaplaincy and 11 clergymen serve in 12 Penitentiary Institutions of the Republic of Armenia.

8 Armenian Church Youth Centers were operating in 2016 (Etchmiadzin, Ashtarak, Gyumri, Vanadzor and in Yerevan: Nork, Malatia, Arabkir and the Kanaker Miniature Art Center), serving a total of roughly 3,067 children.

During the year, 266 different events were organized in the Youth Centers.

2016 was also effective in church-building. In the Armenian and Diaspora Diocesan 22 churches were consecrated. 18 churches are under construction or renovation and 7 churches were completed during the last year.

Spiritual and social assistance were provided by the Mother See in 2016.

After the April War in 2016, at the request of Catholicos Karekin II, led by the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin and with the participation of the Dioceses, donations were organized and one million US dollars was transferred to the special account of the Government of the Republic of Artsakh, in support of Artsakh.

Responding to the application of His Beatitude Archbishop Nurhan Manookian, Patriarch of the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem, the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin transferred one million US dollars from its current budget to the Patriarchate, for the renovation of the tomb of Christ in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.

In 2016, the soup kitchens of Malatia, Arabkir, Nork, Etchmiadzin and Vanadzor have continued their operations, where upwards of 1,000 people received daily food.

There are 17 teenage and 4 girls in the "Mer Hooys" Nakashian Children’s Home.

In 2016, the Izmirlian Medical Center of Yerevan provided necessary medical care to patients, medical consultations and advice, and organized a visitation by a US medical group who visited the Armenian provinces and Artsakh.

Material and financial assistance was provided to needy families in Armenia, as well as to families of soldiers who were killed or wounded during the April war, and orphans and Syrian refugees in Armenia.

The Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin provided assistance in the amount of eight hundred and twenty million AM drams through various projects.

The dioceses also offered spiritual discussions, and various social, educational, and cultural programs.

The Supreme Spiritual Council accepted and approved the reports presented, welcoming the extensive activities implemented by the Armenian Church.

The meeting was closed with remarks by Catholicos of All Armenians and recitation of the Lord’s Prayer.

PHOTOS

Supreme Spiritual Council Meeting - March 7-9, 2017 - 9 photo(s)

Published : 13 March, 2017

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