On the 24th of June 2020, His Holiness Karekin II held a zoom meeting with Primates and pontifical legates representing their respective diocese across Europe. Among those in attendance, were: Archbishop Khajag Barssamian, pontifical legate for central Europe, Bishop Tiran Pedrosyan, pontifical legate to central Europe and Sweden, Bishop Hovakim Manukyan, Primate of the Armenian Diocese in the UK and Ireland, Bishop Vahan Hovhanessian, Primate of the diocese of France, Bishop Datev Hagopian, Primate of the diocese of Romania and acting Primate of the diocese in Bulgaria, Bishop Serovbe Isakhanian, Primate of the diocese of Germany, Bishop Vardan Navasardyan, Primate of the diocese of Baltic countries, very reverend Father Goossan Aljanian Locum Tenens of Diocese of Switzerland, and Locum Tenens of the Diocese in Greece, Father Khoren Arakelyan.
Extending His paternal greetings to the representatives of the Armenian churches in Europe, His Holiness emphasized the significance of such meetings. He particularly welcomed the idea of using modern technology to keep in contact with The Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin and His Holiness, and the significant progress that can be made by utilising similar platforms.
His Holiness also welcomed initiatives focused on organising online training programmes for the laity and the clergy of the Church. During the meeting, many pastoral questions were raised, with discussions cenetering on the lives of Armenians across Europe. The Primates notified His Holiness about the activities in their diocese during the COVID-19 virus, informing Him further on the relative needs of the faithful in each nation. Also in conversation, was the easing of lockdowns by European nations, and how the gradual reopening of churches for public worship will take place. Questions pertaining to Holy Communion were raised also, with Primates coming to the conclusion that the Holy Communion should be distributed in the traditional way, whilst still maintaining all necessary safety measures in-line with current regulations. His Holiness also informed representatives about the construction works on the Cathedral of Holy Etchmiadzin and expressed his hope that the recent consecration of the crosses on the dome of the Cathedral will be a hope of grace to the faithful and a sign that we will overcome the difficulties that face us today.
The Primates were also advised on the charitable activities of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin during the COVID-19 virus, and the help that the church extends to vulnerable families in Armenia through the outreach programmes of the Church. His Holiness thanked Primates and Armenian churches in Europe for their strong support to this cause. For our Faithful in the UK, it brings us great joy to inform you that recently, from the savings of the diocese and the parishes, we have contributed £5000 to this cause.
At the conclusion of the meeting, His Holiness encouraged the clergy to continue their hard work for their Church and wider communities, and also placed special emphasis on the inclusion and involvement of lay members in the daily life of the Church, strengthening both their faith and their inherent connection with their Motherland.