On September 23, the opening ceremony of the "St. Gregory of Narek" Children’s Center was held in Vanadzor under the presidency of His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, and with the participation of benefactors, Mr. and Mrs. Sarkis and Ruth Bedevian of the United States. Armenian General Benevolent Union and Holy Etchmiadzin Children’s Centers operate in Yerevan (Arabkir, Nor Nork and Malatia) and the regions (Ashtarak, Vanadzor and Etchmiadzin). For more than 20 years the Children’s Center of Vanadzor functioned in cabins. Today, with 16 classrooms, two event halls, a gym, open-air basketball and tennis fields, and a boiler-house, the new building of the Children’s Center occupies a territory of 3500 square meters, and already has 400 students. The ground blessing ceremony for the new Children’s Center of Vanadzor was held on August 30, 2007. The Pontifical retinue and regional authorities traveled to the Diocesan Cathedral of St. Gregory of Narek, which was also built through the benefaction of the Bedevian family. Following the service in the Cathedral, His Holiness went to the "St. Gregory of Narek" Children’s Center. The students of the Youth center and residents of Vanadzor welcomed the Armenian Pontiff at the entrance of the Children’s Center. His Holiness along with Mr. and Mrs. Bedevian cut a red ribbon at the entrance to open the facility. The Armenian Pontiff and the guests entered the new building and toured the facilities. All the speakers of the day, Rev. Fr. Komitas Hovnanian, Dean of the Children’s Centers, His Grace Bishop Sepuh Chuljian, Primate of the Diocese of Gougark, Mr. Aram Kocharian, Governor of Lori, and Ms. Hranush Hakobian, RA Diaspora Minister extended their message of gratitude to His Holiness and the benefactors reflecting on the importance of having such an establishment. On the occasion of the memorable day, benefactors Sarkis and Ruth Bedevian expressed their heart-felt feelings to the people in attendance. Addressing the students of the newly opened Children’s Center, he said, "Be joyous; preserve and enjoy this house like a jewel". At the conclusion of the ceremony, His Holiness Karekin II extended his message of blessings and gratitude to those present. The Pontifical message was followed by a concert performed by the students of the "St. Gregory of Narek" Children’s Center in Vanadzor and the "Nork" Youth Center in Yerevan.