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BERGE AND VERA SETRAKIAN SPONSOR THE RECONSTRUCTION OF THE OLD PONTIFICAL RESIDENCE

On December 27, in the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, presided over blessing service of the old Pontifical Residence for the commencement of its reconstruction and renovation. It was last reconstructed in 1958 during the reign of His Holiness Vasken I of blessed memory. The old Pontifical Residence is being remodeled through the generosity of the benefactors of the Mother See, Mr. Berge Setrakian, President of the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) and his wife Mrs. Vera Setrakian. At the conclusion of the service, the Armenian Pontiff reflected on the scope of the reconstruction project. Layers and structures from different periods have been discovered, dating back to the 7-9th centuries and 12-13th centuries. His Holiness stated that they would be preserved intact, and the old Pontifical Residence would sustain its historicalarchitectural composition. After reconstruction the old Pontifical Residence will be opened as a Museum. Dormitories would also be built in the southwestern part of the historical building. Following a joint prayer, His Grace Bishop Nathan Hovhannisian read the commemorative plaque in honor of the occasion which stated in part, "We extend our Pontifical appreciation to the Church-devoted and nation-loving children, who bring their assistance to the reconstruction and building activities of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin – the sacred spiritual center of Armenia. May the Omnipotent God bless the benefactors and grant success to their Church-building and nation-devoted endeavors. Amen". His Holiness placed the commemoration plaque in the foundation of the building asking that God protect Holy Etchmiadzin, and grant zeal to the members of the Brotherhood to effectively continue their sacred mission with honor for the welfare of the Armenian nation. Present for the ceremony were His Eminence Archbishop Tatev Sargsian, His Grace Paren Avetikian, His Grace Bishop Arshak Khachatrian, Chancellor of the Mother See, His Grace Bishop Artak Tigranian, Dean of the Monasteries, His Grace Bishop Hovakim Manukian, Director of the Inter Church Department of the Mother See, Members of the Brotherhood and government officials.

 
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