Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Hierarchs of World Orthodoxy Participated Ecumenical Services in Armenia

(Blagovest-Info – Vertograd, Yerevan /Armenia/)

Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople (Ecumenical Patriarchate), Metropolitan Valentine of Orenburg and Buzuluk (Moscow Patriarchate) and representatives of eleven more "sister-churches" accompanied Catholicos of All Armenians Garegin II in blessing the Chrism for Armenian Apostolic Church in Etchmiadzin on September 28.

Armenian Apostolic Church uses two relics to bless the Chrism: the Right Hand of St. Gregory, the Enlightener of Armenia, and Holy Spear of Crucifixion. During the ceremony of blessing the Chrism, the Right Hand of St. Gregory was used by Catholicos of All Armenians Garegin II (Monophysites), and the Holy Spear was given to Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople (World Orthodoxy).

The following Church leaders and representatives participated the ceremony: Metropolitan Valentine of the Diocese of Orenburg and Buzuluk, of the Russian Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchate; Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, who led the delegation for the Roman Catholic Church; His Bishop Benjamin of Menoufeya from the Coptic Orthodox Church; Metropolitan Mor Eustathius Matta Roham of Jazirah and Euphrates of the Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East; H.G. Dr. Thomas Mar Athanasios, Metropolitan of the Chengannur Diocese who led the delegation of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church of India; Geoffrey Rowell, Bishop of Gibraltar in Europe of the Anglican Church, Mgr. Vartan Ashkarian, General Representative of the Patriarchal Eparchy of the Armenian Catholic Church; Father Yeghia Kilaghbian, Abbot of the Armenian Mkhitarist Congregation of San Lazzaro; as well as representeatives from the World Council of Churches, and the organization "World Conference of Religions for Peace".

The day before (on September 28) the same members of "sister-churches" presided by Garegin II served a memorial service for the victims of the Armenian Genocide. Prior to the start of the service, a wreath was laid at the memorial. During the service the participants offered joint prayers in their own languages for the victims of the Genocide. Following the service, members of the delegations visited the Genocide Museum.

(Photo by Nowosti-Armenia)