12th General Assembly of the Brotherhood of the Catholicosate of Cilicia

 

“TAKING THE CHURCH TO THE PEOPLE AND BUILDING THE CHURCH OF
THE PEOPLE IS OUR MISSION” – HIS HOLINESS ARAM I

Under the presidency of His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia, on April 3rd and 4th, 2014, the General Assembly of the Catholicosate of Cilicia met at the Meeting Hall of the Gulbenkian Museum in Antelias.

H.E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate, and Brotherhood members from our Prelacy participated in the Assembly.

Following the election of the officers of the Assembly, in his opening message, the Catholicos Aram I reminded the clergy that such meetings were times to take account, to assess, to learn and to plan. He said, “This process requires spiritual renewal and formation of intellectual capabilities based on the principles of love, reciprocity and service to the people.”

After the adoption of the agenda, the Assembly received the annual report of the outgoing Committee of the Assembly. During the first two sessions of the meeting, the Assembly discussed a draft report on “clerical dress-codes,” and the final draft of “the by-laws of the Brotherhood.” At the end of the discussions the officers of the Assembly invited individual comments to be sent in writing to the drafting group. The final draft will be approved and made public in a Pontifical Letter by the end of the month.

The next six sessions of the Assembly were devoted to presentations on and discussions of the history of the Catholicosate of Cilicia from Sis (Cilicia) to Antelias (Lebanon). The speakers presented research papers describing the conditions under which the Catholicosate was uprooted, its properties confiscated, and its spiritual and cultural heritage destroyed. Papers also covered the early decades of settlement, the cold war, Turkey-related conflict during the leadership of Catholicos Zareh I, the Armenian Bishops Conferences, the renewal of the church and rising challenges.

His Holiness Aram I concluded the meeting, and said, “As we move towards the second century of the Catholicosate in Antelias, in order to take the Church to the people and build the church of the people, we must continue our journey with deepened faith, renewed spirituality and a strong commitment to survive.”

The Assembly adjourned with the hymn “apostles of Jesus” and the Cilicia anthem.

***

CATHOLICOSATE OF CILICIA BROTHERHOOD
SUPPORTS THE ARMENIAN COMMUNITY OF SYRIA

The General Assembly of the Catholicosate of Cilicia, presided over by His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia, on April 3rd and 4th, 2014, expressed serious concern regarding the general unrest in the Middle East and particularly the situation of Syria’s Armenian population.

In the past three years, the Catholicosate has faced new challenges in Aleppo, Damascus, Der Zor, Kamishli, and most recently in Kessab.  In light of current conditions, our communities throughout Syria are in great need of our immediate and continuous support, to safeguard and preserve our valuable and long-ago established religious, national, educational, and cultural institutions.

The conservation of our educational, social, and cultural institutions in Syria presents us with a new challenge, to foster the cultivation of our ethnic identity among the new generation and the rebuilding of our community.

Under the leadership of His Holiness Aram I, the Brotherhood of the Catholicosate of Cilicia, under the auspices of the Prelacy of Aleppo, assumes the responsibility of fulfilling this mission, and continues to pray for peace in the region.

***

REPORT OF THE CATHOLICOSATE BROTHERHOOD ON THE
100TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE ARMENIAN GENOCIDE

Following the General Assembly, presided over by His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia, on April 3rd and 4th, 2014, and on the threshold of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, the Brotherhood of the Catholicosate of Cilicia renewed its oath of service and presented the following initiatives:

(1) Bring up new generations with an emphasis on religious and ethnic instruction, generations who are who are well-versed on our history and in the pursuit of our cause.

(2) Utilize all possible means to compile documentation of our demands and pursue our cause through legal processes.

(3) Make the world aware of the cultural genocide perpetrated by the hands of the Turks against our people, the obliteration of our rich and ancient civilization, the result of which was felt in all of society.

(4) Amass rescued treasures from Cilicia for safekeeping at the “Cilicia” Museum of the Catholicosate.

(5) Canonization of martyrs on the 100th anniversary of the Genocide, on April 24.

(6) Maintain the collective focus of our people on the righteous pursuit of our cause.

Thus, by the direction of His Holiness Aram I, the Brotherhood of the Catholicosate of Cilicia reaffirms its pledge to continue its devoted service for the glory of God, and for the advancement of our church and our people.

***

GUIDELINES FOR THE COMMEMORATION OF THE
100TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE ARMENIAN GENOCIDE:
REMEMBER, REMIND, DEMAND

On Wednesday, April 9, 2014, a conference on the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide was held at the Catholicosate in Antelias presided over by His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia, and with the participation of Prelates and Chairpersons of Genocide Centennial Committees.

His Holiness began his message by stating that the Armenian Cause is the cause of each Armenian individual and of Armenians as a whole.  And so, we are all called to participate in and support efforts aimed at the attainment of our rights. We are at the threshold of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, and commemorative events are already being planned internationally.  The perpetrators have also begun their false counter campaign. The year 2015 should not be regarded as any other in our history, said His Holiness.  It should be distinguished by such activities and undertakings that it leaves a lasting impression and gives new energy to pursuit of our cause. The essence of 100th anniversary commemorations must be REMEMBER, REMIND, and DEMAND.

Thus, His Holiness set forth guidelines for commemoration endeavors: Work in unity, on local and international levels, putting aside personal differences and presenting ourselves with one voice, one stance, one cause.  Commemorations must be of a pan-Armenian scope, with the active participation of the entire Armenian people.  Strive to move away from outdated events, find new methods to expand our horizons outside our communities and capture the attention of the international community.  Expand our cause to Turkey by establishing ties with local communities. Direct our focus on our demands and put emphasis on retribution, while still pursuing recognition.  Base our demands on international law and legal principles. Immediately begin work on documenting lost churches, church properties, and community and individual properties; the Catholicoate of Cilicia has in large part recorded the list of its lost church properties.  Finally, not to regard the 100th anniversary as the culmination of the Armenian Cause, but extend our vision beyond 2015 and continue our struggle undeterred.  In conclusion, His Holiness stated that all that must be done in preparing for the 100th anniversary of the Genocide and beyond requires a great deal of financial support, thus, the Armenian government, our community institutions, and individuals are called to lend their support to these mighty endeavors.

***

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