LA CRESCENTA—On Friday, October 25, His Beatitude Archbishop Nourhan Manougian, Patriarch of Jerusalem, visited the Western Prelacy where he was welcomed by Western Prelate Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian and members of the Religious Council, Executive Council, ARS, Homenetmen, and Hamazkayin.
His Beatitude was accompanied by members of the St. James Brotherhood, Very Rev. Fr. Baret Yerezian and staff-bearer Very Rev. Fr. Norayr Kazazian. On Wednesday, October 23rd, the Prelate, accompanied by Archpriest Fr. Vicken Vassilian and Rev. Fr. Ardak Demirjian, had visited His Beatitude at his hotel to welcome him to Los Angeles and wish him a pleasant stay.
The visit began with a canonical prayer at the “St. Dertad and St. Ashkhen” Chapel, and continued at the “Sulahian” Reception Hall.
The Prelate and Executive Council Chair Rima Boghossian officially welcomed the honored guest and congratulated his recent election as Patriarch of Jerusalem, noting that the representative of the ARF Central Committee could not be present but conveyed their well wishes. They wished him success in his mission and expressed that his visit to the Prelacy is a historic occasion of great joy and pride. His Eminence also outlined the general endeavors of the Prelacy, given that it was the first visit of the Patriarch.
His Beatitude expressed thanks and appreciation for the warm welcome and well wishes, noting that it was his first visit to the United States since his election as Patriarch, and also gave an overview of the Armenian communities of Israel, Jordan, and Palestine served by the Patriarchate. His Beatitude presented a historical background of the Patriarchate, stating that from the early days of Christianity many monasteries were established in Jerusalem and the Holy Land, and in later centuries Armenian kings and princes built and supported more churches. Thus, Armenian presence in Jerusalem and Bethlehem dates back centuries. The Patriarch noted that St. James has properties which supports the livelihood of the Patriarchate. Also, after the Genocide numerous surviving families established residences in the complex of the Monastery, and their descendents continue to live there today. The complex also houses community organizations and two schools, the “Tarkmanchatz” school and the Theological Seminary. St. James Brotherhood counts thirty-five members, with over a dozen serving in different communities.
In response to a question whether the Patriarchate is assisting the Syrian-Armenian community, His Beatitude explained that although they wish to offer support, such as taking in students, the regional political situation makes doing so unfeasible. The Patriarch concluded by speaking about the challenges facing the Patriarchate’s communities, difficulties the youth face, and the dwindling Armenian population.
The Prelate presented His Beatitude with a memento depicting the Prelacy Chapel, and the visit came to an end with a tour of the Prelacy.