On Saturday, February 14, the National Central Council of the Holy See of Cilicia held a plenary session online presided by His Holiness Catholicos Aram I and jointly chaired by Mr. Stepan Der Bedrossian (Lebanon) and Krikor Mahserejian (Abu Dhabi).
The agenda discussed included the consequences of the pandemic, the crisis in Lebanon and the Artsakh war. Some of the highlights of the meeting are:
- Despite the challenges created by Covid-19, both the Catholicosate and the prelacies all over the world managed to operate regularly, celebrating liturgy and providing spiritual nourishment to communities through pastoral reflections and Bible studies.
- His Holiness paid respect to community leaders and members who lost their lives to the pandemic.
- The Catholicos had words of praise for both the Catholicosate and the prelacies for the social services they provided to the community during the pandemic.
- He also stressed the importance of rebuilding the Armenian community of Lebanon, in particular the reconstruction of Armenian families’ homes that were damaged in the Beirut port explosion in August.
- In reference to the Artsakh war, His Holiness repeated his call to new elections in Armenia to establish a new government and prevent political polarization in the homeland while pursuing a path that ensures the independence of Artsakh.
- In this sense, he reminded that he has proclaimed 2021 The Year of Artsakh, urging the prelacies and communities to continue their efforts for the recognition of Artsakh.
- His Holiness also discussed the financial difficulties of the Catholicosate, saying it was essential for prelacies to pay the Holy See dues.
- The Catholicos also pointed out that after a number of developments and delays, Turkish courts will hear the case of the Holy See against the Turkish state for the return of the Catholicosate of Sis on March 21, 2021.
- His Holiness expressed his satisfaction for the work of the Armenian studies, educational and community centers of the Catholicosate despite all the practical constraints caused by the pandemic and the crisis. These institutions include the Seminary, the Birds’ Nest, the Nursing Home and the Armenian Sanatorium of Azounieh.