ANTELIAS, Lebanon—Under the presidency of His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia, the World National General Assembly convened at the Armenian Catholicoate with the participation of around 130 clergy, lay delegates, and invited guests representing the prelacies of the Holy See of Cilicia across the world.
The assembly, which convenes every four years, and its delegates will meet for four days for an in-depth examination and evaluation of the activities of the Catholicosate, discuss the concerns and challenges of its churches and people, and establish directives for Prelacies to enact in the coming years. The meeting will conclude on December 8.
The main agenda item of the morning session was the address of His Holiness Aram I. His Holiness urged delegates to focus on ways to strengthen and grow the Armenian Church as a place where one can carry out its faithful Godly mission and serve the Armenian nation and its people. His Holiness stressed that the church has to go beyond its walls, think in different, and work in new ways to strengthen its mission. Along those words, His Holiness highlighted five areas of priority concern that require careful attention and continued development, which are Spiritual and Moral Values, Religious Upbringing and Service, Youth Participation in the daily life of the church, Armenian Cause and Diaspora.
In his address, His Holiness Aram I stated that by strengthening the spiritual and moral values of our people, incorporating the beliefs and rituals of Christian life in our daily lives become promising. Speaking about the youth, His Holiness stressed that youth involvement in the Armenian church is important because the will being, priority and future of the Armenian Church is dependent on our agenda to include and encourage youth to be active participants. He underlined that we have to truly listen to them, understand their expectations and needs, expand our ways of thinking and working, and be inclusive of their thoughts and suggestions.
One of the important agenda items of the Armenian Church is the continued representation of the demands and rights of the Armenian people and nation. Two years ago, the Armenian nation marked the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide and the same year the Holy See of Cilicia took the bold action and filed a lawsuit demanding the return of its seat in Sis. This unprecedented action garnered world attention. Despite careful work and attention on this matter, the case finds itself at a difficult political crossroads. However, regardless of the difficulties, the Armenian Church continues its efforts for the demands of the rights of the Armenian people.
Finally, His Holiness stated that strengthening the development of the growing Diaspora is imperative. Last July, the Catholicosate convened a special meeting to review the concerns and needs of the Diaspora and Armenian Identity and open the channels for the renewed engagement in Armenian life.
In his conclusion, His Holiness made special note that 2018 will make the 100th anniversary of the First Republic Armenia. The Holy See of Cilicia will commemorate this occasion by convening a conference in Antelias, Lebanon scheduled for March 2018.
The Assembly continued its first day of business by reviewing and responding to the Religious and Lay Councils reports.