WATERTOWN– His Holiness Aram I–Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia took part in a special Ecumenical Thanksgiving Service with His Holiness Bartholomew I–Patriarch of Constantinople and New Rome at the St. Stephen’s Armenian Apostolic Church on Artsakh Street in Watertown Tuesday evening.
Thousands of Armenian- and Greek-Americans took part in the special service–which began at the Taxiarchae Greek Orthodox Church on Bigelow Avenue. As the procession made its way down the avenue to the steps of St. Stephen’s Church–hundreds of people congregated on Artsakh Street to catch a glimpse of the two Patriarchs. Their Holinesses were accompanied by their entourages comprised of several religious dignitaries–deacons–community representatives and security personnel.
The special service included the traditional blessing of the bread and salt before entering the church. St. Stephen’s Church was packed to capacity with both Eastern Orthodox and Armenian Apostolic followers. Both Taxiarchae and St. Stephen’s Choirs performed hymns throughout the service.
The program ended with the exchanging of gifts between the Patriarchs–and the singing of the "Hayr Mer."
The special service marks the first time in history in which a Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia has celebrated an ecumenical service with an Eastern Orthodox Patriarch.
The Steering Committee overseeing the Pontifical Visit of His Holiness Aram I–Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia of the Armenian Apostolic Church–released the itinerary of His Holiness’ first Pontifical visit to Canada.
His Holiness will visit the parishes of Montreal and Laval beginning Nov. 4 through to Nov. 10.
Aram I will be visiting Quebec on the final leg of His First Pontifical Visit to the Prelacy of the Eastern United States and Canada.
His Holiness will be arriving in Montreal from Ottawa following his visits to the parishes in British Columbia and Ontario.
In Ottawa–meetings are scheduled with the Prime Minister–the Rt. Hon. Jean Chretien–and other dignitaries.
Aram I is currently the Moderator of the World Council of Churches and the official itinerary includes many receptions and meetings with sister churches and ecumenical leaders. Catholicos Aram I has been an active participant in the ecumenical movement throughout his service to the Church and as such is now one of the most respected religious leaders internationally.
Accompanying His Holiness throughout the visit will be His Eminence Archbishop Mesrob Ashjian–Eastern US and Canada Prelate of the Armenian Apostolic Church of North America–and His Eminence Bishop Khajag Hagopian–Vicar General of Canada.