ANTELIAS–Lebanon–Upon the invitation of–and presided by His Holiness Aram I Catholicos of Cilicia–the General Assembly of the Holy See of Cilicia was officially convened at 9 a.m. on June 6–at the Catholicosate of the Great House of Cilicia in Antelias.
The delegates representing all the prelacies/dioceses of the Holy See of Cilicia are gathered at the Catholicosate to deliberate on issues pertaining to the mission of the Catholicosate in the life of Armenian people.
Subsequent to the invocation presented by His Holiness–the General Assembly elected its Steering Committee (Tivan) composed of Arsen Danielian–Esq. of the Western Prelacy of the Armenian Church of America and Dr. Vazken Der Kalousdian of the Prelacy of Canada as co-chairmen–and Norayr Shahnazarian of the prelacy of Tehran and Neshan Basmajdian of the prelacy of Kuwait and the Gulf Countries as secretaries.
His Holiness Aram I in his opening remarks–addressed the General Assembly by emphasizing the historical mission of the Holy See of Cilicia and the necessity of restructuring of the activities of the Catholicosate in the light of the expanding new role of the Catholicosate during the current developmen’s in the world.
His Holiness stressed that "Antelias is not a mere administrative center–but it is the living center of the collective efforts and ever-expanding multi-faceted role of the Catholicosate of Cilicia."
Aram I categorized the priorities of the Armenian Catholicosate of Cilicia in the five areas of Christian education–Armenian education–the expansion of cultural values–ecumen’sm and inter-religious relations–and the Armenian Cause. His Holiness paid particular attention to the role of women and the youth in the life of the Armenian Church.
His Holiness praised the activities of the members of the brotherhood of the Cilician Catholicosate and its lay members in all aspects of the activities of the Catholicosate throughout the world.
His Holiness stressed the necessity of strengthening of collaboration with Catholicosate of All Armenia’s in Etchmiadzin an atmosphere of brotherly love and mutual understanding. His Holiness also emphasized the necessity of implementing reform within the Armenian Church. He appealed to the clergy and laity alike to work together towards the renewal of the Armenian Church.
At the conclusion of his address–His Holiness reflected upon the assistance and support that the Holy See of Cilicia provided to the Republic of Armenia as well as the crucial role that the Holy See of Cilicia has played in the development of relations between Armenia and Diaspora.
On the second day of its meeting the Assembly received the reports of the religious and lay executive committees of the Catholicosate. These reports have included various areas and aspects of the mission and service of the Church. These are: Christian Education–Theological Education–social service–matters to the reformation of the church–evangelical movemen’s–ecumenical relations–interfaith dialogue–Armenia-Diaspora relations–finance–pastoral issues–cultural activities–relations with the prelacies.
The reports underwent a serious discussion by the Assembly. In his answer to a number of questions His Holiness Aram I emphasized the importance of dialogue collaboration–faithfulness–transparency–and accountability. We would sustain and direct the mission of the Armenian Catholicosate of Cilicia.
He said: "We are not an organization–we are Church we don’t organize function–we do mission. We must look at our work in this perspective and with this vision. Therefore we must look for quality and commitment". The Assemble expressed its deep appreciation of the unique leadership of His Holiness. A leadership that goes beyond the confines of the Armenian Church. The Assembly also expressed its appreciation for all those clergy and laity who have participated in the mission of the Catholicosate.
The Assembly takes place in four or five years and is composed of the diocesan representatives. According to the constitution of the Church–the laity is the majority in the assembly.