Catholicos of All Armenians Visited AGBU “Alexander” Primary School and “Alexander” Elderly House
His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, who is on a Pontifical visit to Australia, visited the AGBU "Alexander" Primary School on February 6. He was accompanied by his retinue, His Grace Bishop Haikazoon Najaryan, Primate of the Armenian Diocese of Austria and New Zealand.
In front of the school, His Holiness was welcomed by fifty students from the school, Mr. Mihran Lepetchyan, chairman of the AGBU Sydney branch, the Board of Advisors led by Chairman Mrs. Sosi Kirakosyan, Dean Mr. Manouk Demirchyan, students and parents. Following the blessing of the salt and bread, a welcoming service was held in the school auditorium. The hymns of Australia and Armenia were performed, following which Mr. Sarkis Manookyan and student Samson Banikyan welcomed His Holiness.
In his remarks, Mr. Manouk Demirchyan, Dean of the school, presented the mission of the school, the past historical path, and through photo exhibition dealing the first visit of His Holiness with common lines and the connection between the school and the Homeland, especially Holy Echmiadzin, emphasizing the religious and moral education.
Then, the school students performed artistic performances, with their songs and recitations surprising the Catholicos of All Armenians, the clergy and the attendees.
On this occasion His Eminence Archbishop Nathan Hovhannisyan, Director of the External Relations and Protocol Department of the Mother See and His Grace Bishop Haikzaoon Najaryan, Primate of the Diocese addressed their remarks to the children and youth, particularly assessing the performance of the young generation and confirming with satisfaction that the future is bright and stable in this process.
At the conclusion of the remarks, Bishop Haikazoon asked His Holiness to convey his blessings to the school students.
The Catholicos of All Armenians expressed joy for the possibility of being at the “Alexander” Primary School and noted that each Armenian, turning his view to the Armenian Pontiff, sees Armenia and Holy Echmiadzin. On this occasion His Holiness confirmed: “We see Armenia and Holy Etchmiadzin here, inside each of you. Here is the breath of Armenia, the vision, and the hope of Armenia that is shaped in the personalities of these children and is presented to us through the personalities of these children… These children are our Holy Etchmiadzin, they characterize that sacredness and dedication. These children are also this structure, the guarantor of this structure's continuity. Through these children this school will be alive, .. they will grow up, form a family and have children. And they should want to lead their children to this institution, the “Alexander” Primary School, because here they have seen care and love, and it is here that they have been formed, here they have got their image, the Armenian spirit and the image of Armenians, and here they have been created as children of the nation”.
Reflecting on the impressive performances of the students, His Holiness stressed that true patriotism is the work that is being done with the children of the community, due to which they are educated with a patriotic spirit. “There is no other great patriotism, greater nationalism, love towards God and Etchmiadzin than the work carried out by the teachers.
… We applauded the talent of the children, but mostly applauded as appraisal of the work done by the entire staff. What an activity, what a tremendous volume. A great dedication and patience, how much love, how much investment, how much commitment and spirit of sacrifice is necessary to offer all this to the children so that the child remembers and recalls with so much love”, added His Holiness, conveying his appreciation and blessings to the pedagogues, board members and the Dean of the school, also expressing gratitude to all those who offer their work, time and lives for the Armenian children, Armenian nation and eternal existence of Holy Etchmiadzin.
On the occasion of the visit, the Catholicos of All Armenians handed gifts to the school and its directorate and gave the children crosses from the Holy Etchmiadzin.
On the same day, His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, visited the "Alexander" Armenian Recreation Center. Accompanied by the Directorate and the Trustee Body, His Holiness made a tour and separately conveyed his blessings to the elderly people of the facility. Following the prayers, the Catholicos of All Armenians, talked with the Armenians, highly evaluating the caring work done by the Board of Trustees, as well as the accomplishments and godly deeds.
In memory of his visit, His Holiness handed the Lord's Last Supper icon to the Recreation Center.