Catholicosate of Cilicia
Antelias - Lebanon
25 July 2015. On Friday evening, after visiting the Catholicosate of Cilicia, Mr Dzaroukian met with His Holiness Aram I in the evening at St. Mary’s Monastery in Bikfaya. The meeting took place in the presence of the prelates of Lebanon and Peria (Syria), members of the Executive Council of the Catholicosate of Cilicia and representatives of other national committees.
After welcoming Mr Dzaroukian, His Holiness talked about the Catholicosate of Cilicia, first, as an historical See with an historical mission and, second, about the special vocation it has assumed since the Armenian Genocide. He spoke of how the Catholicosate has worked to preserve Armenian identity in the diaspora by building community, organizing the Church and building Armenian schools, and how it has advocated for justice and the restoration of the rights of its people. His Holiness Aram I also described the relationship of Armenia and the diaspora. He said that because Armenia and the diaspora form an inseparable whole, you cannot speak of one without also speaking of the other: resolving problems of one, he said, strengthens both; the Catholicos then affirmed that the Catholicosate of Cilicia is committed to supporting the fortification of Armenia’s governing structures and prosperity.
Then, addressing Mr Dzaroukian, Caholicos Aram I highlighted his contribution in strengthening the church and rebuilding, reviving and empowering the population in Armenia and assisting Karabagh to sustain its independence. He called upon all Armenians to work together to realize the aspirations of Armenians in Armenia, Karabagh and the diaspora. Afterwards, Archbishop Shahan Sarkissian reported on the situation of Armenians in Syria and their sufferings for the past five years.
After thanking His Holiness Aram I for his kind words, Mr Dzaroukian expressed his deep appreciation for Aram I’s efforts to support the homeland and invigorate and sustain the diaspora. He also affirmed the important role of the Catholicosate of Cilicia in the diaspora. In recognition of the role of His Holiness, the Catholicosate of Cilicia and the special role of the Armenian community in Lebanon, acting as the pulse of the diaspora, he donated US$ 500,000 towards the programmes and projects of the Catholicosate of Cilicia, including assistance to the Armenians in Syria; he also donated a silver cross to the St. Gregory the Illuminator Cathedral. In turn, His Holiness Aram I offered Mr Dzaroukian a rare copy of the special print of the “Partserpert” Manuscript.