AGBU President Berge Setrakian Participates in Third Diocesan Representative Assembly at Mother See


From left, Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern Diocese), AGBU President Berge Setrakian, President Serge  Sargisian, and Karekin II, Catholicos of All Armenians, at the third Diocesan Representative Assembly

From left, Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern Diocese), AGBU President Berge Setrakian, President Serge Sargisian, and Karekin II, Catholicos of All Armenians, at the third Diocesan Representative Assembly

ECHMIADZIN — From October 31 to November 3, the third Diocesan Representative Assembly of the Armenian Apostolic Church was held in the Mother See of Holy Echmiadzin, presided over by Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, and with the participation of representatives from the Armenian Patriarchates of Jerusalem and Constantinople; Diocesan Primates from Armenia and the diaspora; high-ranking clergy; Members of the Supreme Spiritual Council and representatives of the laity. President of the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) Berge Setrakian also arrived in Armenia to participate in the meeting.

On October 31, the opening ceremony of the meeting was held under the presidency of Karekin II. In attendance for the opening session were Bako Sahakian, president of the Republic of Nagorno Karabagh; Tigran Sargisian, prime minister of Armenia and Setrakian.

Welcoming speeches were made by Sahakian and Prime Minister  Sargisian. The prime minister reflected on the relations and close cooperation between the church and the state, stressing the significant role of the Armenian Apostolic Church in the preservation of national identity.

On November 2, the Diocesan Representative Assembly convened in the Mother See of Holy Echmiadzin and continued its work under the presidency of Karekin II. Present for the morning session was the president of Armenia, Serge Sargisian.

President Sargisian addressed the clergy and participants of the assembly, wishing them success in their meetings. He welcomed all the steps being taken for the reinforcement of the mission of the Armenian Church and for the fulfillment of the spiritual needs of Armenians living in the diaspora. He also reflected on the 10th anniversary of the installation of the catholicos, expressing his gratitude for the enormous work that was accomplished during the last decade. Sargisian granted to the catholicos the Order of St. Mesrop Mashtots — the highest order of the Republic of Armenia — for his efforts in the preservation and development of national and spiritual values and virtues. Setrakian was also present at the meeting.

In his speech on November 3, the third day of the session, Setrakian reflected on the role of the Armenian Apostolic Church in the history of the Armenian people and the cooperation between the Mother See of Holy Echmiadzin and the AGBU in the national-political life of our nation.

“The Armenian Apostolic Church, as a national church, has had an undeniable role in the history of our people. Today, in light of the new challenges facing the diaspora, our national and spiritual life is in need of revival and, in this sense, we all need to act with new approaches and modern solutions.”

Speaking about the relations and cooperation between the Mother See of Holy Echmiadzin and AGBU, Setrakian said, “Traditionally our relations have been strong and enduring. Our cooperation has been based on the fact that the joint activities of the Mother See and AGBU have always been favorable for the nation in the diaspora. In the course of history, guided by pan-Armenian interests, we’ve walked hand in hand with the Mother See with love unbiased and impartial. We are united in our endeavors and goals and certainly we are more powerful together.”

Setrakian praised the activities of Karekin II in the past decade. “In the past 10 years, we have witnessed important achievements in reviving spirituality and spreading the faith. You’ve not only been a builder, a catholicos who built new churches in our motherland, but also a true spiritual leader, who consecrated 240 young clergymen for national-spiritual service. Due to your active organizational skills, you are loved, respected and highly valued by everyone. I wish you good health and well-being, and I wish unwavering strength to the Mother See of Holy Echmiadzin,” said Setrakian.