Catholicosate of Cilicia
Antelias - Lebanon
Catholicos Aram I Presides over the 180th Anniversary Celebration of St. Gregory the Illuminator Church in Komotini
On Sunday 28 September 2014, His Holiness Aram I presided over the Holy Liturgy, which was celebrated by Archbishop Khoren Toghramadjian and chanted by the choir of St. Vartanantz Church in Istanbul. The Church and the courtyard were filled with pilgrims from Istanbul, Bulgaria and many parts of Greece.
Addressing the pilgrims, His Holiness said, “This 180th anniversary should become an occasion of renewal for all of you in this region. The Church, which is the people of God as molded by faith, love and hope, is the vital center of our national life. We have survived the afflictions of history because we have bonded around the Church.” The Catholicos then spoke of love as the locus of Christian faith and told the community that Jesus not only preached love, but also shed his blood for His love of all humanity. He then asked the faithful to make their love of God, the Church and the community the purpose of their lives. His Holiness then greeted the pilgrims individually and gave them his blessings.
During the lunch in honor of His Holiness, the prelate of Greece, Archbishop Khoren Doghramadjian, thanked the Catholicos for this special visit and message, and assured him of the community’s determination to safeguard the Armenian Church and the identity of its people in the region.
In his farewell speech the Catholicos encouraged everyone to keep alive the “Armenian spirit” that has accompanied the history and shaped the culture of Armenians everywhere and at all times.