His Holiness Catholicos Aram I departed from Philadelphia to New Jersey with his entourage on Tuesday, November 14. He arrived at Sts. Vartanantz Church, of Ridgefield, New Jersey, on the evening and was received by Very Rev. Fr. Sahag Yemishyan, Vicar and Pastor, guest priests, the choir, the Board of Trustees, and the faithful.
After the Hrashapar prayer, His Eminence Archbishop Anoushavan, Prelate, welcomed His Holiness and recalled his close ties with the church and community as a frequent visitor, celebrant, and preacher in his student years.
The Catholicos referred in his message to the importance of faith in human life, which keeps human beings in contact with the Lord. He called for a renewal of faith with active participation in church life. A reception and Achahampouyr followed in the church hall.
His Holiness met the representatives of Armenian organizations in New Jersey on Wednesday, November 15, in the morning at his hotel. He said that to be sister organizations means to assist each other and cooperate, and the harmonious work of the organizations strengthens the community, he expressed his warm appreciation for the work being done.
At Hovnanian School
Afterwards, the Catholicos visited the Hovnanian School in New Milford, New Jersey, where he was welcomed by the principal, faculty, students, and parents.
A brief school function was offered by the students, followed by welcoming messages from Stephanie Torossian, Head of School, and Hera Makhoulian, Head of Academics. His Holiness blessed the students, teachers, and parents. He recalled the formative years of the school and underscored its role in the life of the Armenian community of New Jersey. He also highlighted the special role that Armenian schools in general have in the maintenance of Armenian identity.
On Wednesday, November 15, His Holiness Catholicos Aram I visited the headquarters of the Armenian Missionary Association of America (AMAA) in Paramus, New Jersey. His Holiness was accompanied by His Eminence Archbishop Anoushavan, Prelate; Very Rev. Fr. Sahag Yemishyan, Vicar; Very Rev. Fr. Hovagim Panjarjian, head of the information department of the Catholicosate; Col. Aram Sarafian, chairman of the Prelacy Executive Council, and Dr. Vartan Matiossian, Executive Director of the Prelacy.
His Holiness was welcomed by Zaven Khanjian, Executive Director and CEO of AMAA, members of the Board of Trustees, reverends, and employees. After a brief meeting, a luncheon was served in honor of the Catholicos. Rev. Calvin Sagherian and Zaven Khanjian spoke on behalf of AMAA. The latter introduced the multifaceted activities and the large scope of the service of His Holiness, who reshuffled the Catholicosate of the Great House of Cilicia with new impetus. Mr. Khanjian handed a present to His Holiness, as well as a donation of $100,000 to the Theological Seminary.
In his message, Catholicos Aram I referred to his ties with the Evangelical churches, as well as the cooperation of the Prelacies and their joint projects. He highlighted the importance of the mission of the church, which he regarded as not just an area of activities, but the essence of the church. He said that Christ did not establish a church but sent his disciples out to the world to execute a mission. He also underscored that the work of AMAA does not just encompass the Evangelical Church but benefits all projects and activities that are directed to the best achievement of the church mission through theological studies, Christian education, and other programs.
The meeting ended with the singing of “Giligia.”