His Holiness Catholicos Aram I stressed the need for the reorganization of the Diaspora in his closing remarks of the Central Executive Meeting at the Holy See on March 12-15. Clergy and delegates from every Prelacy took part in the four-day discussions, which included a review of the state of the communities as well as the challenges faced by the Catholicosate amid a continuing financial crisis in Lebanon as well as the projects and concerns of the parishes.    

The Eastern Prelacy was represented by His Eminence Archbishop Anoushavan, Prelate, and Col. Aram Sarafian, Chairman of the Executive Council of the Eastern Prelacy.   

The main topics that drew the attention of the Religious Council meeting were the imperative of training priests as well as the need of priesthood candidates within the jurisdiction of each Prelacy, which would enhance relations between clergy and the faithful. Meeting participants also discussed outreach efforts to the youth, to bring the Church to them.  

Issues related to reforms in the rite of our Church and social morality matters were also discussed. Participants also considered essential the translation of the Bible into Western Armenian, which is currently underway. 

In the Executive Council meeting, the properties and finance committee of the Catholicosate presented a report focused on the impact of Lebanon’s economic and social crisis on the financial situation of the Holy See. There were also separate meetings of the Catholicos with the representatives of the prelacies, who also delivered their respective reports and laid out the problems they faced, with His Holiness offering advice on how to address them.   

In the joint session of the Religious and Executive Councils, the Catholicos presented the main challenges before the Diaspora, stressing the importance of reorganizing it as well as the prelacies. The Diaspora reorganization, he said, must be carried out in stages after determining the priorities and feasibilities.  

His Holiness expressed his satisfaction on the dedicated work of the prelacies, each of which has its own character and different concerns, which require specific responses. The reorganization or the prelacies, he added, should serve as a guide and template for a renewal of the communities.   

The combined session of the council also discussed the work carried out by the Catholicosate to restore the rights of the people of Artsakh, including the activity of the Cilicia Analytical Platform. The Holy See is also cooperating with experts and international justice organizations to ensure the release of the kidnapped Artsakh leaders and prisoners currently in Azerbaijani prisons. The Holy See will provide a detailed update about this mission shortly.  

The Catholicos also drew attention to the manpower and financial needs of the Holy See as it expands its activities. The recently opened Khoren I Center in Fanar, Lebanon, will host a number of departments of the Catholicosate, which will further the development of the Holy See’s service.