Surp Prgitch (Holy Saviour) Chapel of the Armenian Hospital in Istanbul was reconsecrated and reopened for worship after completion of repairs and renovations following the earthquake in August 1999.
His Beatitude Mesrob II, Armenian Patriarch of Istanbul and All Turkey, presided over the service. Multitudes of believers from the various Armenian parishes in the metropolis filled the chapel and the surrounding gardens to witness the rededication of the chapel.
His Grace Archbishop Karekin Bekciyan of Cologne, a member of the Brotherhood of the Patriarchal See who is visiting Istanbul, celebrated the Divine Liturgy. In his homily, Archbishop Karekin emphasized the significance of rekindling the Spirit of God in the believer’s spiritual life. He added that the piety of the Armenian church community in Istanbul has deeply impressed him, and that it is a witness to the lit torch of Armenian faith and cultural vitality in Istanbul.
In his spiritual message, Patriarch Mesrob said the miracle of the Ascension, on the 40th day of the Resurrection of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, inaugurates His eternal heavenly priesthood on the right hand of the Heavenly Father. In anticipation of the Holy Feast of Pentecost, and especially, on the occasion of the 1700th anniversary of the official recognition of the Armenian Church, the Patriarch asked the faithful to pray for the spiritual renewal of the priests of the Armenian Church and for the Holy Spirit to speak to the hearts of the younger generation to embrace the priestly ministry.
Following the Divine Liturgy, a requiem service was held in the churchyard for the repose of the souls of the members of the Gulbenkian family who were in the past and are presently the benefactors of the Armenian Hospital in Istanbul.
A traditional Ascension luncheon was held in the Bilekyan Hall of the Hospital where a short programme took place with Dr Mardiros Yeniyorgan serving as Master of Ceremonies. Mr Bedros Ayseli sang three songs in Armenian; Mr Setrak Tokat, the Chairman of the Hospital’s Board of Administrators, and His Beatitude the Patriarch were the main speakers.
The Patriarch congratulated the newly elected members of the Board of Administrators and wished them success during their four-year mandate of service. His Beatitude noted that outside Armenia, the Surp Prgitch Hospital in Istanbul is the only Armenian hospital, which serves the public in such an extensive way, and congratulated the Chief Surgeon, Dr Arman Cakir, and
all the medical staff members of the Hospital.