On Monday, November 13, His Holiness Aram I left Washington for Philadelphia, beginning the next leg of his tour of the Eastern United States. He was accompanied by Archbishop Anoushavan, Prelate; Stepan Der Bedrosian, co-chair of the Central Executive Council of the Catholicosate; Very Rev. Fr. Sahag Yemishian, Vicar; Very Rev. Fr. Hovagim Panjarjian, head of the information department of the Catholicosate, and Very Rev. Fr. Sarkis Aprahamian, head of the interfaith and interreligious department of the Catholicosate. They were welcomed at St. Gregory the Illuminator Church by Rev. Fr. Torkom Chorbajian, Pastor; Archpriest Fr. Nerses Manoogian, Pastor Emeritus, the Board of Trustees, the Ladies Guild, and representatives of sister organizations.
Archbishop Anoushavan greeted the visit of His Holiness and recalled that he was a frequent visitor to Philadelphia in his student years and a participant of church ceremonies.
The Catholicos referred to the importance of personal and collective values in our lives. He spoke about three different sets of values: spiritual, moral, and national, and underscored all of them as essential for the maintenance of our spiritual and national identity.
After the religious ceremony, there was a reception at the church hall and a cultural program. Following various speeches, His Holiness gave his closing remarks, based on the expression “From the people, by the people, and for the people,” and explained its deep meaning and message. Like Christ identified himself with the people, serving their needs, so does the Catholicosate of the Great House of Cilicia today through its clergymen and lay organizations.
The next morning, His Holiness had breakfast with representatives of community organizations. He later visited the Armenian Sisters Academy. Sister Emma Moussayan, principal of the school, greeted the visit of His Holiness. The students presented a program, and at the end, the Catholicos reminded the audience of the importance of reaffirming the mission of forging Armenian identity in the diaspora situation.