The assembled clergy of the Eastern Diocese received an audience with His Holiness Karekin II, the Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, on Monday, February 15: the first day of Great Lent.
The meeting went forward as a video conference, and was organized at the request of Diocesan Primate Bishop Daniel Findikyan.
In his remarks to the clergy, His Holiness warmly expressed his appreciation for their faithful service during a supremely challenging time. He thanked Bishop Daniel for his leadership, and for the spiritual and material aid provided by the Eastern Diocese for the benefit of those in need as a result of the pandemic and the Artsakh war.
He shared how the church in Armenia continued without a pause to celebrate the liturgy even in the thick of the pandemic, and its consequent lockdown of the faithful. The Catholicos was moved to hold up the valiant example of the many clergy who provided spiritual support to the troops fighting in Artsakh.
Echoing the theme of his public message for Great Lent, Catholicos Karekin II invited the clergy to utilize the period for introspection and spiritual growth, and encouraged them to continue providing a clear message of hope to the faithful.
After bestowing his pontifical blessing, His Holiness welcomed questions from the clergy, most of which focused on ways to help the people of Armenia and Artsakh in the aftermath of the war.
Bishop Daniel thanked His Holiness for the time he devoted to the meeting and for his message of spiritual comfort to the clergy. The Primate also acknowledged the great difficulties, pain, and even demonic aspects of the past year for the entire world, due to the pandemic but also, for the Armenian world, as a result of the Artsakh conflict. He prayed that the Lord would lighten the heavy burdens which rest on the shoulders of the Catholicos as the chief shepherd of the Armenian people, and grant him wisdom and strength to continue to fulfill his apostolic mission.
Throughout the meeting, His Holiness was accompanied by Fr. Mesrop Parsamyan, a former priest of the Eastern Diocese and now the dean of Holy Etchmiadzin’s Gevorgian Theological Seminary, whose presence was a welcome “virtual” reunion for the American clergy.
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