Pilgrimage to Italy
Discovering Armenian Roots
The Primate recently took part in a pilgrimage to Italy, visiting Naples, Rome, Florence and Venice. He was joined by 26 Armenians from London, Wales and the Midlands, along with guests and friends from Australia and Canada.
The pilgrims started their journey with a visit to the Church of St. Gregory the Illuminator in Naples, where a short service was held venerating the relics of the patron saint of Armenians. After visiting several religious sites in Naples, the group travelled to Rome to discover the ancient Christian heritage of the everlasting city. They visited St. Peter’s Basilica where a statue of St. Gregory the Illuminator stands, along with other Christian monuments and art pieces.
Particularly inspiring events were the general audience with His Holiness Pope Francis, the Bishop of Rome, and a visit to the community of St. Egidio; the Primate and pilgrims received an especially warm welcome there, and also attended an ecumenical prayer service in the Church of Santa Maria in Trastevere.
After visiting both historically ancient and Christian sites in Rome the group travelled to Florence, where there are also traces of Armenian history. The pilgrims visited and took part in a short prayer session at the Church of St. Minas, a 4th-century martyr of Armenian heritage.
The pilgrimage was concluded in Venice, a city with a strong Armenian presence that began in the 12th century when Cilician Armenian kings and Venetian leaders signed free trade agreements. The pilgrims also travelled to St. Lazaro island, where an Armenian monastery was founded by Mekhtar Sebastasi in the 18th century and visited Mourat Rafaelian, an Armenian school.
Pilgrimage is something unique to religion, that is a deeply spiritual practice. One quote from a contemporary Christian thinker says: “To go on pilgrimage is not simply to visit a place to admire its treasures of nature, art or history. To go on pilgrimage really means to step out of ourselves in order to encounter God where He has revealed Himself, where His grace has shone with particular splendour and produced rich fruits of conversion and holiness among those who believe.”
The Primate would like to thank all those who joined him on this pilgrimage, with special thanks extended to his assistant Ms Sarian for all her hard work and dedication.
To hear about future pilgrimages, please check our website and newsletter.
Global Armenian Church News
Episcopal Ordination and Consecration in the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin
On Sunday, May 12th, Episcopal ordinations and consecrations were held in the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin. During the celebration of Divine Liturgy, Rev. Fr. Serovbe Isakhanyan, Primate of the Armenian Diocese of Germany; Rev. Fr. Daniel Findikyan, Primate of the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America; and Rev. Fr. Tiran Petrosyan, Pontifical Delegate of Central Europe and Sweden were consecrated, ordained and elevated in rank by His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians.
Attending the celebrations were the Diocesan Primates of the Armenian Church, pilgrims from the Armenian Diocese of Germany, the Eastern Diocese of the US and the Pontifical Delegation of Central Europe and Sweden, as well as His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II of the Syriac Orthodox Church, representatives of the sister churches and delegates of Ecumenical structures of the aforementioned countries.
The previous day, before the Evening Service, the candidature service was held at the St. Trdat Open Altar, during which the bishops reaffirmed their covenant faithfulness to the Armenian Apostolic Holy Church and Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, and signed their oaths.
At the Open Altar on the same day, a public examination was made of the orthodox faith of the candidates. Representatives of the Armenian Church from the Federal Republic of Germany, United States and Austria, as well as scribes, deacons, priests and bishops, as well as laymen from diverse societal backgrounds, approached His Holiness and publicly bore witness on behalf of the candidates.
The Divine Liturgy began with a solemn procession, which led His Holiness Karekin II and His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius to the St. Trdat Open Altar, where the sacred service began. Assisting His Holiness were His Eminence Archbishop Khajak Parsamyan, Pontifical Delegate of Western Europe; His Grace Bishop Artak Tigranyan, Dean of the Monasteries of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin and His Grace Bishop Armash Nalbandyan, Primate of the Armenian Diocese of Damascus, who testified for the spiritual and religious training and virtues of the candidates. The choir of the Mother cathedral was headed by Mr. Khoren Mekhanehyan.
To the hymn “Divine and Celestial Grace”, the Archimandrites faced the faithful and raised their hands as a sign of rejection of all that is worldly. After prayers to God the service of consecration was offered, during which His Grace Bishop Hovnan Hakobyan, Grand Sacristan of the Mother See brought the Holy Chrism. His Holiness called the Archimandrites Serovbe, Daniel and Tiran to the rank of bishop, and consecrated the candidates’ foreheads and the thumbs of their right hands with the Holy Chrism, after which the symbols of episcopacy – the Episcopal staff and ring – were presented to the newly consecrated bishops.
The Catholicos of All Armenians addressed his Pontifical message to the newly consecrated bishops and the pious faithful, present on this joyful occasion. Please click here to read the message of the Catholicos.
After the Pontifical message, all the clergy ascended to the Holy Altar to receive “the kiss of peace” from the newly ordained. Following the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy, the faithful approached the bema, and congratulated them on their consecration.
Programmes and Upcoming Events
Art Wellbeing for Women
The Art Wellbeing for Women club will meet at Bishop’s House on May 25th at 12 pm for an art session led by Anna Virabyan. The therapeutic nature of the practice means no artistic ability is required; anyone who wants to use creative art as a medium through which to express their experiences is welcome to join.
The Children’s Club
The Children’s Club, led by Anna Henden and Vanouhi Petrosyan, will meet on Saturday, May 18th at 2 pm at Bishop’s House. They use toys, music, and singing to engage children with the religious Christian world. Through these mediums, children are better able to express themselves and learn about the Christian religion in a more playful and captivating way.
The Bible Study Group has restarted its meetings with the study of the Gospel of St. Mark. Bible studies are at the heart of the teachings of the Church. Hermeneutical and exegetical aspects of each topic are uncovered. It helps to understand the links of the given Gospel passages with the Old Testament, certain narratives and prophecies, the meaning of each statement in its historical context as well its relevance on life today. Bible study sessions end with learning and singing a song from the Armenian hymnal. The next meeting is on May 22nd, led by Fr. Nshan Alaverdyan.
Serving Senior Members of the Community
ACYO members will host senior members of our community on Saturday 1st June at 11 am at Bishop’s House for tea and coffee, as well as congratulate them on the occasion of the upcoming feasts of Ascension and Pentecost. Those who would like to join but have travel difficulties, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or the Primate’s Office at email@example.com.
Basket Delivery and Visiting Seniors
ACYO members, along with the Primate and priests, will visit senior members of the community to spend some time together, deliver gifts and bless their houses. Those who would like to join, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or follow their Facebook page.
BBQ party at the Armenian Youth House! Everyone is welcome to join us for BBQ, networking, drinks, music, and dancing. Saturday 15th June, 3pm – 9pm, Bishop’s House, 27 Haven Green, London W5 2NZ.
ASF July 14th
The 9th Annual Armenian Summer Festival will take place on July 14th at North Acton Playing Fields, Eastfields Road, Acton, London W3 0JF. ASF is a celebration of our culture, history, identity and faith. Each year the festival offers a comprehensive programme of music including folk, classical and religious, along with traditional Armenian dancing. There will also be delicious homemade food, a market of community stalls and activities for children.
Walking Football for all aged 50+
A new community walking football team for those aged 50+ is being launched this month.
The first session will take place on Thursday 30th May 2019, 12.30 – 13.30, at Kings House Sports Ground, Chiswick, W4 2SP.
There is ample free parking on site and a comfortable clubhouse with changing rooms and showers, a bar, tv, coffee etc.
The first session is free for anybody who would like to come along and see what’s on offer. It’s hoped that there will be regular sessions held throughout the summer months.
Additionally, an Armenian Ladies Football team is also being planned subject to interest; more details on this to follow.