SAN FRANCISCO–His Holiness Aram I–Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia continued his California trip by visiting the Armenian communities of the Bay Area. He arrived in Oakland Monday–accompanied by his scepter bearer Very Rev. Krikor Chiftjian and Western Prelate Bishop Moushegh Mardirossian.
The first on the agenda was Vespers at the St. Gregory the Illuminator Armenian Church in San Francisco and a sermon was said by the Catholicos to the parishioners of the Bay Area.
On Tuesday–the Catholicos and his entourage climbed Mount Davidson–where a cross serves as a monument to the victims of the Armenian Genocide.
There he was greeted by San Francisco mayor Willie Brown and other city council members.
An ecumenical Mass was said at the Cross–following which both Brown and the Catholicos addressed those gathered and emphasized the importance of the Armenian church in everyday life.
The Catholicos then visited the Krouzian-Zekarian Vasbouragan Armenian School–where he had the opportunity to meet with students–teachers and administrators of the school.
On Tuesday evening–at Saroyan Hall in San Francisco–a banquet was held in celebration of the 1700th anniversary.
During the banquet–the Catholicos presented the "Cilician Knight" medal to Krikor Der-Abrahamian–who–in the past 15 years–has supported the Armenian Church and the Western Prelacy through his generosity and activism.
The Catholicos left California for a pontifical visit to the communities of Venezuela and elsewhere in South America.