Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan visited St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral to conclude his trip to New York City for the United Nations General Assembly.
In the presence of the visiting Catholicos of All Armenians, His Holiness Karekin II, Mr. Pashinyan was welcomed to the cathedral by the Primate of the Eastern Diocese, the Very Rev. Fr. Daniel Findikyan.
Taking part in the occasion were Diocesan Legate and Ecumenical Director Archbishop Vicken Aykazian, and former Primate and current Envoy of Holy Etchmiadzin to the Vatican Archbishop Khajag Barsamian. The Eastern Diocese’s Vicar Fr. Simeon Odabashian and its Director of Ministries Fr. Mesrop Parsamyan were also present.
The Primate delivered welcoming remarks in Armenian to the Catholicos and Prime Minister. Catholicos Karekin II addressed the gathering, as did Prime Minister Pashinyan, both expressing gratitude for their reception.
What follows is an English translation of Diocesan Primate Fr. Daniel Findikyan’s Armenian, remarks welcoming Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan to New York’s St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral, on September 26, 2018.
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“It is a profound pleasure and privilege for me today, to welcome both the Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia and the Catholicos of All Armenians to St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral. Half a century ago, this cathedral was consecrated as a ‘national home’ for our people—and it is a blessing to have the leaders of our church and homeland here in this magnificent house of God.
“This sanctuary has welcomed the entire first generation of the Republic of Armenia’s leaders: Presidents, Prime Ministers, Foreign Ministers, diplomats; artists, scholars, clergymen. It is our pride and joy to add your name to that roster, Mr. Prime Minister. St. Vartan Cathedral is your home—because it is the home of every Armenian soul that enters the orbit of this great city.
“This year we celebrated 50 years since Catholicos Vasken the First consecrated St. Vartan Cathedral. But the dream of a cathedral in America goes back much further. When the Armenian immigrants first planted roots in the United States, their first order of business was to build churches. And they built this place in the same spirit—the same faith that has sustained us throughout history, throughout the world, to this very moment.
“They built this cathedral as the place where our people would pray—and where God would listen. And as I stand here now, and look around me, I feel that God has indeed heard our prayers. He has granted us peace and prosperity in the wake of the Genocide. He has restored our homeland to governance by our own people. He has steered us towards a greater recognition of justice and dignity for all our countrymen.
“Those were the promises inherent in Armenia’s history-making turn to our Lord Jesus Christ, all those many centuries ago. It is surely the testimony of the beautiful exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Every item is an exquisite reminder of the creativity and imagination of our Armenian forebears. But more than that: all of them together are a profound reminder of the faith—the inspiration from a loving God—that has animated the Armenian soul for centuries on end.
“St. Vartan Cathedral is no different: the building itself and every precious thing in it—all are gifts from our people, manifesting their love and commitment to our risen Lord and the Armenian Church.
“Vehapar Der; Prime Minister Pashinyan: In this cathedral we pray for our Republic; we pray for our people; we pray for you, that God may guide you, so that you may guide our people through this season of change in our national life, and lead our Republic to a bright new day for every Armenian. Welcome, and thank you.”
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Click here for a photo gallery of the occasion.
(Photos by Albin Lohr-Jones.)