This week marks the 20th anniversary of the enthronement of His Holiness Karekin II. It was on November 4, 1999, that His Holiness was consecrated as the 132nd Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, in a magnificent ceremony at the Cathedral of Holy Etchmiadzin.
Throughout the history of the Armenian Church, our great symbol of leadership has been the Catholicos of All Armenians. To every generation of our people, the catholicos is the leader of the church.
But he leads in a larger sense, as well. He is the living embodiment of our heritage: a heritage that has endured through 17 centuries; that has attained the highest achievements; and that today spans the entire globe.
As the successor to St. Gregory the Illuminator, His Holiness Karekin II is our generation’s link to the great events that transformed the Armenian people into the world’s first Christian nation. He is our link to the miraculous vision of Christ that established the Mother See of our church: Holy Etchmiadzin.
In the presence of Amenayn Hayots, one experiences a rebirth of those great milestones of faith.
As we honor the 20th anniversary of the enthronement of His Holiness Karekin II, we remember that the 132nd Catholicos embodies another re-birth, as well. For our homeland has also been reborn. It is God’s great blessing that our generation has lived to see the establishment of an independent Republic of Armenia.
With such great possibilities open to our people in this era, Vehapar has been a leading force in rebuilding our homeland, and fortifying its ancestral church. As he reminds us of our proud past, he also turns our eyes to the promise that Armenia will hold in the future.
Catholicos Karekin’s valiant spirit calls each of us to build upon the foundation we have inherited: to beautify that inheritance, and strengthen it for the sake of the future. Certainly, that is the task that Vehapar has taken up as leader of our church: to revitalize the spiritual life of the Armenian people throughout the world.
In honoring Vehapar’s 20th anniversary, we stand with him, and with the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin in this critical, opportune moment in the life of our nation, church, and people. May God continue to bless and strengthen him in his ministry.
And may our risen Lord grant a new birth of faith—a new life—to all the members of Christ’s humble Armenian flock.