Armenian Apostolic Church Second Bishops’ Synod Held in Etchmiadzin


On Tuesday, November 11, 2014, the second Bishops’ Synod convened in Etchmiadzin with the blessings and presence of His Holiness Karekin II, Catholicos of All Armenians, and His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia.The Synod brought together 61 Archbishops and Bishops from the Armenian Apostolic Church around the world. Items on the agenda include the canonization of victims of the Armenian Genocide and various theological and ecclesiastical matters. H.E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate, who is a member of the Canonization Committee, participated in the Synod.

Prior to the opening of the Bishops’ Synod, a prayer service was held at the Mother Cathedral entreating the guidance of the Holy Spirit for productive proceedings. The Synod began with the Lord’s Prayer, after which H.E. Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Co-Chair, invited the two Pontiffs to deliver their message. The election of the divan followed; H.E. Archbishop Yeznik Bedrosian and H.E. Archbishop Sebouh Sarkissian were elected Chairmen, and H.G. Bishop Vazken Mirzakhanian and H.G. Bishop Papken Tcharian Secretaries.

The first two days of the Synod were dedicated to the canonization rite of the Armenian Apostolic Church and the canonization of Armenian Genocide martyrs. H.E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian and H.G. Bishop Papken Tcharian, members of the Canonization Committee, presented reports on this matter, which the participants analyzed and confirmed. The canonization ceremony will be held in Etchmiadzin on April 23, 2015. Committee members were asked to research the canonization of specific individuals, such as Gomidas Vartabed and others.

The sessions on Wednesday and Thursday focused on the rituals of Baptism and Christening. Committee members presented their work to standardize the ritual among all Churches, which was approved by the Synod after some revisions and will be sent to the Prelacies and Dioceses of both Holy Sees to implement.

The final day’s session began with a prayer for the crew members of the Artsakh Defense Army killed in a helicopter attack the day before. The Synod condemned the attack by Azerbaijan and expressed condolences to the families and friends of the victims. During the third session, Mr. Vigen Sargsyan, Chief of Staff of the President of the Republic of Armenia, presented the government’s plans next year relating to the Armenian Genocide centennial. Various issues and concerns were discussed on the final day, which will be followed up at the next Bishops’ Synod to be held in 2016. The three day Synod concluded with the blessings and message of the Pontiffs.

On Tuesday, November 11, the two Pontiffs met with President Serzh Sargsyan. Discussion centered on Church-State collaboration, Armenia-Diaspora ties, and related matters.

On Monday, November 10, the participants of the Bishops’ Synod paid a visit to the Dzidzernagapert Genocide Memorial where the Pontiffs laid wreaths and led prayers in memory of the Genocide victims.

Below is the official statement of the Synod:

STATEMENT OF THE ARMENIAN APOSTOLIC CHURCH BISHOPS’ SYNOD

We extend gratification to the Holy Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit, that from November 11 to 13, granted us the grace on the eve of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, to convene the Bishops’ Synod in the Mother See, under the presidency of His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians; and His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia; and discuss issues concerning our Church and our people.

In prayer, we remember the countless victims of the Armenian Genocide who were martyred for the sake of faith and homeland. We believe that the canonization of the innocent victims will bring consolation to our sons. We urge our nation’s children around the world to bring their active participation to the 100th anniversary commemorative events and the canonization of the innocent victims.

The Bishops’ Synod offers an invitation to the Christian world to join in prayer dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, and commemorative ceremonies being held in 2015, asking the Lord’s blessing for justice, peace and reconciliation in the world, and overcoming the numerous troubles and challenges facing humanity.

We resolutely call on the international community to continue efforts for the recognition and condemnation of the first genocide in the 20th century, committed against the Armenian people by the Ottoman Empire. We also call on the Turkish Republic to recognize the genocide perpetrated against the Armenian people and restore our people’s rights.

We pray to God for our martyrs; for the rest of the souls who are killed protecting the borders of Armenia and Artsakh. We condemn the unrestrained military operations by Azerbaijan, at the borders of Armenia and the Nagorno Karabagh Republic, whose latest painful provocation during the days of this convened Bishops’ Synod, was the downing of the Armenian helicopter resulting in the tragic loss of our sons. We raise a prayer for the souls of our killed sons, offering our condolences and support to the families of the brave soldiers who died for our country.

The Bishops’ Synod expresses concern for different regions of the world, particularly in the Middle East – Syria and Iraq; as well as for the ongoing conflict in the Ukraine, that has caused the loss of many human lives and created destruction. We offer our support to the civilians living in conflict zones, including our nation’s children, praying for the immediate stop of military operations and for universal and lasting establishment of peace.

With confidence that “Christ is our God and our only hope” and with a sense of duty to the memory of the innocent victims of the Armenian Genocide, the Bishops’ Synod restates their sacred vow to continue their cherished mission for the vibrancy of our Church, national unity, strengthening of our country, and the welfare of our people.

May Almighty God Bless our Church, our Homeland, and the Armenian nation, today and always, Amen.

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