ETCHMIADZIN–The Armenian Church’s newly-elected supreme patriarch–Archbishop Karekin Nersissian–will be consecrated and enthroned as the 132nd Catholicos of All Armenia’s on Thursday.
The elaborate ceremony will take place in the cathedral of Holy Etchmiadzin. His Holiness Aram I–Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia will officiate over the annointing ceremony.
Archbishop Nersissian–a 48-year-old native of Armenia–was elected Catholicos on Wednesday–October 27–by the church’s National Ecclesiastical Assembly–a body of more than 450 clergy and lay delegates from around the world. The Catholicos-elect was delivering his acceptance speech when news arrived that Prime Minister Vazgen Sargsyan and other government officials had been assassinated during a session of Parliament. Out of respect for the tragedy–the consecration and enthronement–originally scheduled for October 31–were postponed to November 4.
Holy Etchmiadzin announced last week that the entire episcopal house of the Armenian Church–including the patriarchs of Jerusalem and Istanbul and the Catholicos of Holy See of Cilicia–will participate in the ceremony.
In a ritual dating back to at least the 9th century–twelve bishops will ordain the new Catholicos through the laying-on of hands–and will anoint him as the "chosen of God," and true successor to the Holy Apostles.
Once consecrated–Nersissian will be known as His Holiness Karekin II–Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenia’s.