Catholicosate of Cilicia
Antelias - Lebanon
On Sunday, July 1st, 2018, the 23rd anniversary of the election and consecration of His Holiness Aram I as Catholicos was celebrated with Pontifical Thanksgiving Prayer at St. Gregory the Illuminator Cathedral in Antelias, under the auspices of His Holiness Aram I. Pontifical Thanksgiving prayers were also held throughout all the Prelacies of the Holy See worldwide.
In Antelias, H.E. Archbishop Sebouh Sarkissian celebrated the Divine Liturgy and delivered the sermon. The Children’s choir of the Christian Education department, lead by Bishop Meghrig Parikian, accompanied the Divine Liturgy for the first time.
Biblical passages and special prayers were recited from the Altar, wishing His Holiness Aram I health and long-lasting presence.
In the sermon, H.E. Arch. Sarkissian compared the second birth of the Catholicosate of Cilicia in Antelias, after being deported from its Motherland during the Armenian Genocide, to that of the Christian understanding of rebirth. H.E. stated that despite the atrocities it has witnessed, the Catholicosate of Cilicia represents an important meeting point for various ecumenical and international encounters.
At the conclusion of the service, His Holiness Aram I was led in a procession to the Main Hall of the Catholicosate, where a special ceremony was held. Here too, the Children’s choir chanted national and spiritual songs. On behalf of the Cilician Brotherhood, V. Rev. Vatche Balkjian addressed His Holiness with a message of congratulation.
In the Main Hall, His Holiness Aram I gave his pontifical speech. He stated that with Pontifical Thanksgiving Prayers we are giving thanks to our Lord and asking Him to keep our Church under his guidance. His Holiness continued that the church is not a building, but the presence of Jesus Christ and it has a mission. Aram I observed that the church has to be taken outside of its walls and to the people, “We are all called to renew ourselves and through it renew our Church,” he concluded.