Catholicosate of Cilicia
Antelias - Lebanon
5 January 1017. On Thursday, Christmas Eve, His Holiness Aram I arrived in Aleppo to celebrate the Incarnation of Jesus Christ with the Armenian community who have stayed in Aleppo despite the conflict. He entered the city accompanied by Archbishop Shahan Sarkissian, Prelate of Peria (Syria) and an accompanying delegation consisting of clergy and laity. At the entrance of the city, the local clergy and lay leadership of the community welcomed him with the music of the “Cilicia” anthem.
At the entrance of the Holy Mother of God Church, Archbishop Shahan welcomed the Catholicos and assured him of the determination of the community to stay.
After a prayer of thanksgiving His Holiness Aram I described the visit on the eve of Christmas and celebration with the community in Aleppo as a spiritual joy. He said, “We bring blessings from the Catholicosate of Cilicia in Antelias, to this Historical Diocese. Aleppo has made an important contribution to our church and people in its spiritual and cultural revival and in reorganizing the community. For the past five years, we have prayed for and have expressed our solidarity with you. I believe that Aleppo will resume its historical role, our people will rebuild their community and contribute to the flourishing of the church and the nation.”
His Holiness Aram I’s visit to the members of the community and his celebrating of Christmas with them affirmed the support of the Catholicosate of Cilicia and the nation and gave them hope.