His Holiness Karekin II, the Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, was in the United States in early May, for meetings with leaders of the Eastern Diocese. No public gatherings were scheduled for his visit due to ongoing pandemic restrictions.
The Catholicos met with Diocesan Primate Bishop Daniel Findikyan on several occasions throughout his visit, to discuss developing matters in the worldwide Armenian Church and in the Eastern Diocese.
On May 12, His Holiness presided over a meeting of the Diocesan Council. He was joined in the tahlijof the Diocesan Center by the Primate and Diocesan Vicar Fr. Simeon Odabashian, with the other council members attending virtually via the Internet. The Catholicos laid special emphasis on issues pertaining to the Artsakh war and its aftermath, and highlighted the crucial role clergy have played in ministering to the people during and after the conflict.
Catholicos Karekin II also presided over a small gathering of friends and benefactors of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, during which he bestowed the “Sts. Sahag and Mesrob Medal” on Adrienne Alexanian of New York, for her lifelong devoted service to the Armenian Church and the Eastern Diocese. In bestowing the honor, His Holiness also recognized the faith and generosity of her late parents, Edward and Grace Alexanian.
During a luncheon at the Diocesan Center, His Holiness greeted Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of New York. Diocesan Primate Bishop Daniel and Diocesan Legate and Ecumenical Director Archbishop Vicken Aykazian also took part in the meeting, where once again issues surrounding Artsakh were the focus. Cardinal Dolan—who enjoys a close relationship with the Catholicos and the Primate, and who was an especially supportive friend of Armenia during the war period—graciously offered any assistance he could give to the Armenian Church.
His Holiness departed from our Diocese early this week. We continue to pray for Vehapar’swell-being and spiritual leadership of our church and people.
Above: Archbishop Aykazian, Cardinal Dolan, Catholicos Karekin II, and Bishop Daniel, at St. Vartan Cathedral.