On April 23rd, as part of the events dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, the Canonization Service of the Martyrs of the Armenian Genocide took place at the St. Trdat Open Altar of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin presided over by His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians and His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia. The Ceremony began at 17:00 and went on until 19:15, symbolizing the year of the Armenian Genocide. The last time the Armenian Apostolic Church held a Canonization Ceremony was over 400 years ago. The Ceremony was attended by high ranking state officials headed by the President of the Republic of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan. Also present at the ceremony were Diocesan Primates and clergy of the Armenian Apostolic Church, members of the Supreme Spiritual Council, Delegations of world-wide Dioceses, benefactors, social and cultural figures, representatives of the diplo-matic corp, international organizations, heads and delegations of Sister Churches and representatives of Ecumenical Oranizations, who had traveled to Armenia on the occasion of the commemorative events of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide and the Canonization Ceremony. The Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) funded the organisation and the online live stream of the the Canonization Ceremony. “AGBU has the honor of being a part of this historic spiritual event for all Armenians. Life streaming of the Ceremony allowed people living in the Diaspora to become a part of this unprecedented event”, said AGBU Interim Director Hovig Eordekian. The Ceremony began with a solemn pontifical procession, led by His Holiness Karekin II and Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia and twelve Bishops to the St. Trdat Open Altar, to the sounds of the “Khorhurd Khorin” hymn. The Pontifical Canopy Bearers were Honorary President of the Pyunik Foundation Gabriel Chemberjian, General Director of Sharjah Bank Varouj Nerguizian, ex-member and minister of Lebanon parliament Shahe Barsoumian and President of the Armenian community in China Henri Arslanian. The Ceremony was streamed live at the largest Armenian churches around the world, where representatives of Armenian Communities were gathered. To conclude the Vigil, Armenian Apostolic Church bells tolled 100 times simultaneously around the world to symbolize the 100th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, followed by a minute of silence. Many other churches around the world join in solidarity with the Armenian people by doing the same. At the end of the service, His Holiness Karekin II, Catholicos of All Armenians; blessed the attendees and the Psalm “Surb-Surb” was performed by various choirs around the world. “Dear and pious faithful, All of us today are witnesses to the spiritual transfiguration of our history, in which we participate both collectively and as individuals. The canonization of the martyrs of the Genocide brings life-giving new breath, grace and blessing to our national and ecclesiastical life. We believe that we are weaving the crown of a new spiritual rebirth for our people, by canonizing the martyrs of the Armenian Genocide. The memory of our holy martyrs will heretofore not be a requiem prayer of victimhood and dormition, rather a victorious song of praise by incorporeal soldiers, triumphant and sanctified by the blood of martyrdom. Today the devout spirit of love ‘of faith and homeland’ of our holy martyrs extends from Der Zor to Holy Etchmiadzin and Tsitsernakaberd, from newly-independent Armenia to the reborn fields of Armenian life dispersed throughout the world, by strengthening us to live with unshakeable faith, the bright vision of the renaissance of our life, and the unquestionable will to defend our righteous cause”, noted His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians.




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