Catholicosate of Cilicia
Antelias - Lebanon
On Sunday, January 6th, 2019, the Armenian Orthodox Christmas Divine Liturgy was presided over and celebrated by The Catholicos, His Holiness Aram I, at St. Gregory the Illuminator Cathedral in Antelias. The Shnorhali Choir, conducted by Rev. Fr. Zaven Najarian, sang the Liturgy.
The faithful were joined at the service by Lebanese Armenian political authorities, the Armenian Ambassador to Lebanon, and guests who will be attending a forthcoming conference on the The Armenian Church and the Old Silk Road at the Catholicosate.
His Holiness Aram I based his sermon on Jacob (4:8): “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.” The Catholicos, who focused on Jesus Christ’s birth as evidence of God’s coming closer to His children, stated that the mission of the Son Incarnate is to restore the image of God in the lives of His children. “Christmas, “ said Aram I, “is a call upon all of us to bow down to Him embrace His presence and express the moral and ethical values implicit in his teaching thoughout our lives.”
In the second part of his sermon, the Catholicos saluted the President of Lebanon, the Christian and Muslim religious leaders of the country, and the Lebanese people, stating that Lebanon is significant for its Christian-Muslim coexistence and diversity, a diversity, he said, based on mutual respect that contributes to the unity of its people and the flourishing of Lebanon. Speaking about the current political situation in the country, however, His Holiness expressed his bewilderment regarding the delay in the government’s formation and called upon the Lebanese to prioritize the country over personal gains.
Following the service, the Catholicos received Christmas congratulations in the Main Hall of his residence.