VENICE–The Venice and Vienna orders of the Mekhitarist organization announced that they have merged to make up the Mekhatarian Order–following a meeting which adjourned Friday at the St. Lazzaro Monastery in Venice.
The union came following years of talks between the leaders of the two orders. The meeting–which convened on July 10–decided to merge the two branches of the order under one leadership.
This historic decision coincided with the 300th anniversary of the Order–the 2000th anniversary of Christianity and the 1,700th anniversary of Armenia’s adoption of Christianity as a state religion.
During its session on July 19–Right Rev. Yeghia Kilaghbian was elected as the 15th Chief Abbot of the Mekhitarist Order.
A press release from the organization announced that the center of the united Mekhitarist Order will be the St. Lazzaro Monastery in Venice–while the monastery in Vienna will become the primary abbey of the Order.
The Vienna Monastery will have its own leader who will bear title of an Abbot.
All entities working under the two Orders will be governed by the new Chief Abbot and one administrative council.