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Day Two- The General Assembly discusses the report of the Council of Laity of the Central Committee

17 June 2013

Sessions on the second day began with the Lord’s Prayer and the blessings of His Holiness Aram I. The delegates received the report and recommendations of the Executive Council. The delegates thanked the Catholicos for his guidance concerning their programmes and projects, which have been quite successful despite limited human and financial resources. The work of the Council was summarized under following eight headings:

 

1. Establishment of a Committee of Experts to work on the purification of Western Armenian and its application in Armenian schools. The participants also discussed the teaching of religion in Church-related schools.

 

2. Creation of an Endowment Fund. His Holiness explained that only by establishing such a fund will the Catholicosate be able to become self-reliant and fulfill its mission.

 

3. Pursuit of the Armenian Cause. Report on the International meetings initiated by His Holiness Aram I in Antelias, to pursue professionally the issues of compensation and restitution. The members also took note of the joint statement of 24 April 2013, regarding the 100th anniversary of the Genocide, signed by Catholicos Karekin II of Etchiadzin and Catholicos Aram I.

 

4. The situation of Armenians in Syria. His Holiness Aram I described the difficulties, presented the priority needs of the community, and reported on the Special Fund created by the Catholicosate and the contributions of the Dioceses to the Prelacy of Peria (Syria).

 

5. The economic situation in Greece and the difficulties of the Prelacy. A member of the delegation of the Diocese reported on the situation.

 

6. Antelias-Etchmiadzin Relations. The Assembly reconfirmed its commitment to work with Etchmiadzin to safeguard the unity of the church.

 

7. Relations with the government of Armenia. The Assembly affirmed the friendly and cordial relations with the government and took note of the Armenia’s response to the achievements of the Catholicosate of Cilicia internationally.

 

8. Update on the construction projects of the Catholicosate with the support of Dioceses and individual Philanthropists. The Assembly received an updated report on the construction of the “New Cilicia” housing project in Karabagh. The plenary then received information on the following construction projects in Antelias: Renovation of the Martyrs’ Chapel in Antelias; construction of a new residence for the clergy in Bikfaya, construction of a new altar and re-designing of the surroundings of the Martyr’s monument in Bikafaya, renovation and transformation of the historical building of Birds’ Nest in Byblos to house the Genocide museum.

 

After hearing the report, the Assembly thanked His Holiness Aram I once more for realizing all these activities with limited human and financial resources.

 

In response, His Holiness said, “What we have done is an expression of our vision and mission. We want you to assess our work and help us continue the work.”

 

He thanked the delegates for their contributions to the discussions on the proposed framework for the preparations of the 100th anniversary of the Commemoration of the Genocide and for their positive response to the recommendations concerning the work of the Prelacy of Peria and the Christian Education Department.