During the episcopal ordination service this week at Holy Etchmiadzin, His Holiness Karekin II described the role of bishop as ensuring “that our people will keep their faith, live according to the highest Christian values, and walk along the path of salvation.”
The Catholicos of All Armenians made those remarks in his homily of May 12, 2019, as he introduced three newly consecrated bishops to the faithful gathered before the Holy See’s great outdoor altar: His Grace Bishop Serovbe Isakhanyan (Primate of the Diocese of Germany), His Grace Bishop Daniel Findikyan (Primate of the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of America), and His Grace Bishop Tiran Petrosyan (Pontifical Legate of Central Europe and Sweden).
What follows is an English translation of Catholicos Karekin II’s words on the occasion.
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Homily of His Holiness Karekin II
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound.” (Isaiah 61:1-2)
What great joy and happiness we are all experiencing at this moment!
In accordance with the words of Isaiah’s prophecy, our Savior established the prophetic and apostolic ranks of church service. “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,” he said, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free” (Luke 4:18-19).
Assuming the high responsibility of spiritual service, a bishop is the follower and example of our Savior, who at the time of his earthly mission lived to evangelize the word of life, to satisfy spiritual hunger, to comfort and liberate those who were under the control of sin. The Apostle Paul confirms this description of a bishop’s activities: “A bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not self-willed, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre. But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate. Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers” (Titus 1:7-9).
Our history richly testifies to bishops with holy and devoted behavior, who made good examples of their apostolic service. And today we have the same expectation from our bishops: to exert every effort so that Armenians will be more involved in our church sacraments, sacred traditions, and priceless spiritual heritage; so that our people will keep their faith, live according to the highest Christian values, and walk along the path of salvation.
With great joy we present to you our dear spiritual fathers.
His Grace Bishop Serovbe Isakhanyan: born in Iran, and educated at the Gevorkian Theological Seminary in Holy Etchmiadzin. Bishop Serovbe has served in the Mother See, Armenian communities in Central Asia, then for many years he continued his spiritual service in the Armenian Diocese of Germany. In April 2018, by the election of the Parliamentary Assembly of the German-Armenian Diocese, he was called to serve as Primate of the Diocese.
His Grace Bishop Daniel Findikyan: born in U.S.A., and educated at New York State University, St. Nerses Seminary, St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Seminary, and the Pontifical Oriental Institute in Rome. For many years, Bishop Daniel has served in the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of America, and in May 2018 he was elected as Primate of the same diocese.
His Grace Bishop Tiran Petrosyan: born in Armenia, and educated at the Vazgenian Theological Seminary in Sevan, and the Gevorkian Theological Seminary. He brought his service to the Gevorkian Seminary as dean, and from there went to the Armenian communities of Central Europe. Since 2013 Bishop Tiran has served as Pontifical Legate of Central Europe and Sweden.
Through these prayers to God, we ask for the Lord’s constant support. May the prayers of the apostles Sts. Thaddeus and Bartholomew, St. Gregory the Illuminator, and all our holy fathers support you in your high mission. From the bottom of our heart we pray to Almighty God that the Armenian Church–the ark of salvation for all Armenians–will be kept bright by your brave service.
We also ask that our Lord will support you to proceed on the path of service without offense, to add new achievements to the annals of the holy church, by the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
May the grace, love, and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.