NEW YORK–The Religious and Executive Councils of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America–Eastern United States and Canada–announced that His Eminence Archbishop Mesrob Ashjian has decided not to seek a sixth four-year term as Prelate.
His Eminence expressed his decision in a letter dated Feb. 20–1998–in which he stated–"I know that for everything there is a season…now my time has come to give myself to God completely and enjoy His gifts which I hope will come when I know myself better through prayer and meditation. This May–our National Representative Assembly–in accordance with our bylaws–will elect a Prelate for a four-year term. Since my term comes to an end–I have decided to relinquish my responsibilities and give you the occasion and opportunity to receive from the Catholicosate of Cilicia a list of three candidates so that the NRA can elect the best qualified candidate."
Although both Councils unanimously asked that His Eminence reconsider–but his decision was ultimately accepted. The Prelate ended his letter with–"Please be assured that wherever I may be and for how long God gran’s me life on this earth–I will remember the faithfulness of the Eastern Prelacy with great fondness. You gave my life meaning by allowing me to serve God through you. I ask that you pray for me and remember me with goodness in your hearts. May God bless us all. May he give us peace and love so that we can together realize the unity of our nation and our church."
The Religious and Executive Councils expressed their gratitude and appreciation to Archbishop Ashjian for his twenty years of dedicated service to the Eastern Prelacy during which time the Prelacy grew and flourished in its service to God and His people in every way possible. They wished him a long and healthy life filled with contentment and fulfillment in the next phase of his life of service. .