IT IS NOT MY SERVICE THAT IS BEING PRAISED TODAY, IT IS THAT OF THE CATHOLICOSATE OF CILICIA
- IT IS NOT MY SERVICE THAT IS BEING PRAISED TODAY, IT IS THAT OF THE CATHOLICOSATE OF CILICIA�
SAYS HIS HOLINESS ARAM I DURING THE EVENT DEDICATED TO THE 40TH ANNIVERSARY OF HIS SPIRITUAL SERVICE.
As part of his official visit to Iran, His Holiness Aram I presided over the grand ceremony held in the �Sasountsi Tavit� hall of the �Ararat� complex in Tehran in celebration of 40 years of his unwavering service as a servant of the Armenian Church.
The event was launched with the Lord�s Prayer following by Bishop Papken Tcharian�s (Primate of the Diocese of Isfahan) welcoming remarks. The Bishop presented His Holiness Aram I in the words of an utterly grateful son. �Your children surround you today with deep-held feelings of gratitude to bear witness that you have fulfilled their hopes and dreams with your spiritual leadership, your cultural achievements, your activities in our church and national life. The Armenian church and Armenian life are richer today with your presence; the Armenian church glows with further radiance today in foreign countries and in the families of other churches,� said the Primate.
The Primate of the Diocese of Azerbaijan, Bishop Neshan Topouzian spoke about the Pontiff�s spiritual service through a brief biographical sketch. Said Bishop Topuzian: �During the past decade, the kind and loyal servant in the first instance decorated and beautified the home closest to his heart, the Mother Church of the Catholicosate of Cilicia in Antelias, the Bikfaya Seminary and all the structures adjacent to the Catholicosate. The words of the late Catholicos Zareh I were put into action and Antelias did not turn become immobile because you are its heart and spirit.�
The Primate of the Diocese of Tehran presented a lecture on the work of His Holiness Aram I. �One of the most important characteristics of His Holiness Aram I�s personality is his dedication to hard work. This feature not only became an indivisible part of his life, but also its pivot. It accompanied him from his years as an elementary student to his Pontifical enthronement. I remember from our years as students, Bedros, the acolyte, the Deacon Aram Apegha, the Vartabed, Bishop, Archbishop and Catholicos transformed his life into unwavering, continuous and steadfast work, which was naturally the result of his faith, attachment and commitment to his faith and mission. In the thought of His Holiness Aram I, work is one of the most noble mission by which human beings give meaning to their lives,� he said.
A well organized cultural program was put on with the participation of the �Armenian woman� union , the �Zvartnots� Choir of the �Anahit� Union under the artistic guidance of Edig Tamrazian and the �Ararat� Choir under the artistic guidance of Rebecca Ashoughian. Nayiri Tilanian recited Vahakn Tavtian�s �Zerouyts Naregatsou Hed.�
The chairwoman of the Diocesan Council of the Diocese of Tehran, Dr. Aida Hovhannissian, addressed the crowd with welcoming words on behalf of the national councils of the three dioceses in Iran.
Taking to the stage, His Holiness Aram I highly praised the organizers of the event and expressed his gratitude for the kind feelings and words expressed during the event. However, he considered all that praise to be directed towards the Catholicosate of Cilicia more than towards him personally. He dedicated the tribute to his person to the Holy See of Cilicia. �We are not gathered here today to glorify a person. Glorifying a person runs counter to the principles of the Catholicosate of Cilicia. A person becomes a value to the extent that he dedicates himself to the achievement of holy values and purposes. A person�s service becomes true and permanent when it is complemented by collective service through collective life. The words of Antelias became its deeds, its deeds became its service; the faith and vision of Antelias became its service and the idea of a free and independent Armenia, the vision of an Armenia with the Armenian tricolor flag became the spirit, path and purpose that carved the Catholicosate of Cilicia�s mission of faith and national service. Today we bow in front of our Holy See�s service and we should do so. All those who served with this same spirit, with this same faith for 40 years, some of them left this world and are gone but others continue to work with the same spirit, the same vision. We will continue the course of our service always in the same spirit of unity,� said His Holiness Aram I.
Prior to the event His Holiness Aram I preceded over the opening of an exhibition of photographs from Holy scriptures. The exhibition is being held in the �Vatchig Gharapegian� Hall of the �Ararat� complex, on the occasion of the Year of Christian Education.
His Holiness Aram I held working meetings this Saturday with the Assemblies of Deputies of the three Dioceses in Iran, as well as representatives from the Diocesan Councils. The Pontiff became closely acquainted with the work of the community structures and gave his advice for a harmonious and coordinated work by the three Dioceses.
The Armenian Pontiff also visited the Lebanese Embassy in Tehran on the same day accompanied by the three Primates. In addition to expressing gratitude towards the Lebanese homeland, the meeting became an opportunity to discuss the most recent developments in the country, the internal and external political courses, and the Christian-Muslim bilateral relations.
His Holiness Aram I paid a visit to the Armenian Embassy too, where he was greeted by Ambassador Garen Nazarian. The Pontiff and the Armenian diplomat discussed a number of issues including the developing Iranian-Armenian relations, the imperative for Armenia-Diaspora cooperation and so on. At the end of the meeting, Ambassador Nazarian granted a souvenir to His Holiness, congratulating him on the 40th anniversary of his ordination as a Priest.
His Holiness officiated the Holy Mass in the St. Sarkis Church in Tehran on Thursday in the presence of guests and a large number of faithful.
The 50th anniversary of the establishment of the �Tounanian� Armenian school in Tehran was marked during a special event on November 1. His Holiness presided over the event held in the �Vatchig Gharapegian� hall of the �Ararat� complex. On the same day His Holiness also presided over the groundbreaking ceremony of the �Tounanian� elementary school and the �Sassoun� kindergarten in the area called Sassoun.
SOCM News Bureau