His Eminence Archbishop Anoushavan, Prelate, participated this week in the meetings of the Religious and Lay Councils of the Central Executive Council at the monastery of Antelias, Lebanon.
His Holiness Catholicos Aram I presided over a meeting of the Brotherhood of the Great House of Cilicia on Tuesday, November 30, also attended by prelates from different parts of the world. During the meeting, His Holiness hailed the presence of the prelates who arrived in Lebanon to participate in the forthcoming sessions of the Religious and Lay Councils of the Central Executive Council on Dec. 1-2. The Catholicos highlighted that the brotherhood is fully devoted to the service of the Armenian people both in the prelacies under its jurisdiction and in the Catholicosate. His Holiness also discussed major issues that concern Armenians both in the homeland and the Diaspora.
The meeting of the Religious Council, with the participation of the attending prelates, was chaired by archbishops Oshagan and Nareg, and presided by Catholicos Aram I. Issues on the agenda included the situation of the Catholicosate’s Seminary; Christian education; social services; ecumenical and inter-religious relations; liturgical reforms; translation of the Bible into Western Armenian; the Catholicosate’s monthly “Hask,” and a number of matters regarding the education of clergymen.
Reports were presented about the renovated museum as well as the library and the department of manuscripts and rare books. The heads of the Birds’ Nest orphanage and the Information Department as well as other departments also delivered updates. Relations with the youth and liturgical reforms were a special focus of discussions.
His Holiness highly praised the work that has been carried out, expressing his satisfaction over the renewed dedication of the Brotherhood to the mission of bringing the spiritual values of the Armenian Church to the people through a number of projects despite the challenges created by the pandemic. The Catholicos especially highlighted the importance of Christian education and social services especially in these days and urged prelacies to pay special attention to those aspects of the Church’s mission.
On Thursday, Dec. 2, the Catholicos presided over the plenary session of the Lay Council, with the participation of members from other prelacies as well. The meeting was chaired by Stepan Der Bedrossian and Krikor Mahserejian.
In his opening remarks, His Holiness gave a brief overview of the activities of the Catholicosate in the last few months, including updates on management, financial, social, construction and other issues. He stressed that regardless of the constraints created by the pandemic, the Catholicosate has continued with its national mission.
Meeting participants discussed extensively about issues related to the social services provided by the Catholicosate, including those linked to affordable housing in the districts of Fanar and Bourdj Hammoud, help for the needy, as well as the Holy See’s material contributions to school programs. Attendees expressed their appreciation of the Catholicos’ social initiatives carried out with contributions from both the Catholicosate and donors. A report on the financial state of the Catholicosate presented during the session revealed that it had been adversely impacted by the economic and financial crisis in Lebanon. The importance of the support provided by the prelacies and donors was highlighted in this regard. His Holiness expressed special gratitude to Switzerland-based benefactors Alecco and Ani Bezikian’s for the aid they have provided to the Armenian community of Lebanon, in particular in the field of medical and social assistance.
In the second part of the agenda, meetings were held with directors and board members of “Birds’ Nest,” the community clinic, the senior residence, the Armenian Studies Center, the “Khacher Kalousdian” Pedagogical Center and other sister organizations, who presented their reports. The meeting expressed its appreciation and made suggestions. The combined sessions of the Lay and Religious Council will follow under the presidency of His Holiness.