The Meeting of the Supreme Spiritual Council Concluded

The Meeting of the Supreme Spiritual Council Concluded 03.03.2023

From February 28 to March 3, under the presidency of His Holiness Karekin II, the regular meeting of the Supreme Spiritual Council (SSC) was convened in the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin.

His Eminence Archbishop Khajag Barsamyan, Pontifical Legate of Western Europe was the chairman of the meeting sessions.

Gevorg Danielyan, Doctor of Legal Sciences and member of the SSC, presented a report on the situation and existing challenges in Armenia and Artsakh as a result of the 44-day war. Thoroughly presenting the situation created in Armenia and Artsakh, the reporter referred to the geopolitical developments taking place around the country, particularly the security challenges.

Referring to the Artsakh issue, the SSC recorded that the guarantee of the security of the people of Artsakh is the recognition of Artsakh's independence, having as a starting point the fundamental principle of self-determination of nations. In this regard, the unification of nationwide efforts, ensuring the support of the widest circles of the international community and, in particular, the further expansion of the works carried out by the Church in this direction, were emphasized.

His Grace Bishop Moushegh Babayan, Grand Sacristan of the Mother See, conveyed information to the meeting members about the renovation and strengthening works of the Mother Cathedral. It was notified that the interior decoration, restoration of frescoes, installation of the ventilation system and external improvement of the Mother Cathedral are well underway, which is expected to be finished this September.

Acknowledging the accomplished work, the SSC stated with satisfaction that after a long break the Mother Cathedral will open its doors to the joy and comfort of the pious people.

His Eminence Archbishop Arshak Khachatryan, Chancellor of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, made a report regarding the re-consecration of the Mother Cathedral; Blessing of the Holy Muron Service; episcopal ordination and organization of related events. His Eminence Archbishop Arshak Khachatryan presented to the congregation that committees have been formed to properly organize the ceremonies and events, which will coordinate the work of the ritual, ceremonial, publishing, preaching and information spheres.

The Supreme Spiritual Council accepted the presented information with gratification and planned to organize the ceremonies of re-consecration of the Mother Cathedral and Blessing of the Holy Muron service and the related events between September 30 and October 3 and the Episcopal ordination on October 8, 2023.

His Eminence Archbishop Nathan Hovhannisyan, Director of the External Relations and Protocol Department of the Mother See presented to the congregation the program of spiritual, educational and cultural events planned within the framework of the celebrations dedicated to the 850th anniversary of the death of Saint Nerses the Gracious.

It was also mentioned that on the coming Sunday, March 5, the Patriarchal Encyclical dedicated to the 850th anniversary of Saint Nerses the Gracious will be read in the Armenian Apostolic Holy Churches.

His Eminence Archbishop Nathan Hovhannisyan informed that in commemoration of the 850th anniversary of the death of Saint Nerses the Gracious, the Armenian Apostolic Holy Church and the Roman Catholic Church will organize joint events in Vatican this year in December. His Eminence also noted that UNESCO has also included the commemoration of Saint Nerses the Gracious among the specially celebrated feasts.

The congregation also got acquainted with the 2022 activity report of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin. It was recorded that the total number of ecclesiastics of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin is 721: 49 Archbishops and Bishops, 72 celibate priests (Proto-Archimandrite, Archimandrites and Abbot), 504 Priests and 96 deacons. In the past year, various spiritual-preaching, educational, cultural programs were implemented in the RA Armed Forces; Penitentiary institutions; educational and cultural institutions and communities.

A reference was made on the implemented social support and assistance programs by the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin during 2022. The mentioned programs were aimed at benefiting the families of dead and wounded soldiers and Armenians who were displaced from Artsakh and border settlements as a result of the war and found themselves in a difficult social situation.

As well as, issues related to the canonical and pastoral life of the Church; disciplinary and legal issues; educational programs and the effectiveness of the mission of the church were discussed during the four-day meeting. The meeting was concluded with the blessing and appreciation remarks of the Patriarch of All Armenians.