NEW YORK–NY–The Eastern Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America is continuing its celebrations of the 1700th anniversary of the establishment of Christianity in Armenia–with a pilgrimage to the Holy See of Cilicia in Antelias–Lebanon–for the Blessing of the Holy Chrism.
The Prelacy office has announced that the pilgrims will depart on May 22 and will arrive the next day in Lebanon where they will participate in a variety of exciting events culminating with the Blessing of the Holy Muron by His Holiness Aram I–Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia on Saturday May 26.
The itinerary includes guided tours and visits to Baalbek–Byblos–Anjar–the Theological Seminary in Bikfaya–the Azounieh Hospital and the Birds Nest orphanage and school as well as concerts and other cultural events. The pilgrims will also have the opportunity of a private audience with the Catholicos.
Following the Blessing of the Muron–the pilgrims may depart for Aleppo–Syria–where on May 28 they will visit Der Zor–the desert where thousands upon thousands of Armenia’s perished during the forced deportations. The following day–the pilgrims may fly to Armenia or return to Lebanon from where they can go on to other destinations–or they may return home from Aleppo via London on May 30. Pilgrims going to Armenia will have guided tours to historic sites such as Khor Virab–Etchmiadzin–Geghart–and Lake Sevan–etc.
Just as other communities have done–the Prelacy has been commemorating the 1700th anniversary with appropriate events during the past few years. Last October His Holiness Aram I presided over many such events in various cities within the jurisdiction of the Eastern Prelacy.
As part of the commemoration–the Prelacy is planning a series of publications including the translated works of early church fathers–a history of the Armenian Church–a survey of the early days of Christianity in Armenia–and the proceedings of the Symposium which took place in October in Princeton–New Jersey. The Prelacy is also planning a major concert presentation on November 10–2001–at Lincoln Center’s Alive Tully Hall in New York City–featuring Armenia’s renowned Chamber Orchestra.
"The 1700th anniversary of the establishment of Christianity in Armenia has been on occasion for all of us to become more attached to our church," said Archbishop Oshagan. "We must continue to utilize this opportunity to make our people more aware of the history of our Church and to show how our faith is as relevant today in the 21st century as it was 1,700 years ago."