On February 16-18 under the presidency of His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, a Supreme Spiritual Council meeting was held in the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin. The meeting was opened with the Lord’s Prayer. The Catholicos of All Armenians offered his blessings to the participants, wishing them a productive meeting. His Holiness also expressed his appreciation to the members for the dedicated service to the Armenian Church. His Holiness also expressed joy for the presence of Mr. Berge Setrakian, AGBU President, and stressed with satisfaction that he, as a benefactor of the Mother See and serving as the AGBU President, permanently supports the Mother See.

The Co-Chairman of the sessions were His Eminence Archbishop Aram Ateshyan, Patriarchal Locum Tenens of the Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople, His Eminence Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America and His Eminence Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, Primate of the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America. During the meeting, various canonical and canonical-legal, national and public, diocesan and communal, church-building and disciplinary issues were discussed. During the first session, they discussed the National Ecclesiastical Assembly and the Ecclesiastical Representative Assembly issues. Reports were made by His Grace Bishop Arshak Khachatryan, Chairman of the National Ecclesiastical Assembly Committee and His Eminence Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, President of the Permanent Commission on Constitutional Guidelines. As a result of the discussions the Council decided to convene a National Ecclesiastical Assembly in 2017, and to convene the Ecclesiastical Representative Assembly in October 2016.

During the meeting, the Supreme Spiritual Council listened to the report of His Grace Bishop Bagrat Galstanyan, about the ritual canon of the Genocide martyrs and the Intercession order to be held on April 24.

The SSC members were informed that on September 2016, the visit of Pope Francis is expected in the Mother See and for the planning of the visit, the Mother See is in direct contact with Vatican. His Grace Bishop Haigazoun Najarian, Pontifical Legate of India and the Far East conveyed information about the Far East, particularly the ecclesial communities of Yangun, Singapore, Hong Kong, Myanmar, Bangladesh and Dhaka. His Grace Bishop Vahan Hovhannisyan, Pontifical Legate reported on the Western Europe Pontifical Legate: Belgium, Holland, Spain and Italy.

During the meeting, the ongoing renovation and construction works in the Mother See were discussed. Of particular note was a discussion held on the progress of the restoration and reconstruction works of the Mother Cathedral. It was also stated that the Pontifical Residence renovation and the construction of the new Eurnekian school campus will be completed this year.

The SSC members expressed satisfaction on the occasion of the works that had been implemented, highlighting the efforts addressed for the improvement and vibrancy of the Spiritual Center of All Armenians. The 2015 activity report and financial report of Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin was presented during the meeting.

Within the framework of the 100th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, 854 commemoration and remembrance services, conferences, seminars, ecumenical events, cross blessings, exhibitions and various other events were organized by the Mother See.

It was reported that the Catholicosate of All Armenians has 737 clergymen, - 54 Archbishops and Bishops, 48 Very Reverend and Reverend Fathers, 40 monks, 469 married priests and 131 deacons. 51 spiritual servants are serving in the Republic of Armenia Armed Forces Chaplaincy and 7 clergymen serve 12 Penitentiary Institutions of the Republic of Armenia, in the Prison Ministry Program.

In 2015, 1,206 employees worked for the Mother See; 1,359 in the Dioceses of Armenia and Arstakh. There were 295 students studying in the religious-educational institutions of the Mother See - 98 in the Gevorkian Theological Seminary, 81 in the Vaskenian Theological Academy at Lake Sevan, 43 in the Harichavanq Trpanchyan High School, and 31 in the accelerated clergy training course. 42 students study in the Armenian College and Philanthropic Academy in Calcutta. 324 students attend the Eurnekian Public School of Vargharshapat, and 45 infants attend the Eurnekian Kindergarten.

7 Armenian Church Youth Centers were operating in 2015 (Etchmiadzin, Ashtarak, Gyumri, Vanadzor and in Yerevan: Nork, Malatia and Arabkir) and the Kanaker Miniature Art Center, with a total of roughly 3,500 children attending the various programs. During the year, 282 different events were organized in the Youth Centers.

Within the social programs that are expanding year by year, social assistance were provided to needy and at-risk families, the disabled, orphans, retirement homes, prisoners and servicemen. In the reporting year, a larger volume of support has been implemented, including cash assistance, to 20,000 people.

In 2015, the soup kitchens of Malatia, Arabkir, Nor Nork, Etchmiadzin, and Vanadzor have continued their regular activity, where a total of 1,000 people received daily food. 14 children are being raised in the "Mer Hooys" Nakashian Children’s Home of Yerevan. The Izmirlian Medical Center of Yerevan, continues to expand its services and activities, extending necessary medical assistance to patients. In the Armenian and Diaspora dioceses, 21 new churches were consecrated in 2015. 34 churches are under construction or renovation. 271 Sunday Schools operate within the dioceses. The Supreme Spiritual Council accepted with satisfaction the presented report, welcoming the implemented extensive activities and dedicated efforts addressed to the effectiveness of the mission of the Armenian Church. The meeting was closed with remarks by the Catholicos of All Armenians and recitation of the Lord’s Prayer.


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