On Wednesday, May 22, Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern), hosted an ecumenical gathering at the Diocesan Center in honor of Bishop Andrew Dietsche, who was recently installed as the 16th Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of New York. Leaders of the Roman Catholic and Oriental Orthodox churches came together at St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral for a prayer service, followed by a reception to honor Bishop Dietsche.
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June 5, 2013
On Wednesday, May 22, Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern), hosted an ecumenical gathering at the Diocesan Center in honor of Bishop Andrew Dietsche, who was recently installed as the 16th Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of New York.
Leaders of the Roman Catholic and Oriental Orthodox churches came together at St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral for a prayer service, followed by a reception to honor Bishop Dietsche.
“Bishop Andrew Dietsche is a man of firm conviction, but also gentleness,” Archbishop Barsamian said, “a pastor who deals with the urgent, solemn issues of the church; but also an artist who deals in beauty and laughter.”
Cardinal Edward Egan, the former Roman Catholic Archbishop of New York, delivered the invocation. He thanked Archbishop Barsamian for organizing the day’s program and congratulated Bishop Dietsche on his elevation. Bishop Dietsche was installed as the leader of the Episcopal Diocese of New York at Manhattan’s Cathedral of St. John the Divine in February 2013.
“I want to acknowledge that the Episcopal Church and the Armenian Church have had a long history of friendship in this country, dating back well over a century,” Archbishop Barsamian said. “Long before St. Vartan Cathedral existed—before even the first Armenian sanctuary was built in New York—the Episcopalians welcomed our people into their churches to celebrate the Divine Liturgy….Since that time we have always found encouragement, welcome, and support from our Episcopalian brothers and sisters. And I look forward to continuing that tradition with Bishop Dietsche.”
Archbishop Barsamian presented Bishop Dietsche with a pectoral cross from Holy Etchmiadzin. Bishop Dietsche, in turn, presented the Primate with a commemorative medallion from his installation.
Cardinal Dolan, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of New York, thanked Archbishop Barsamian for his hospitality and continued efforts to foster ecumenical relationships among religious leaders in New York. “It makes us all more grateful for the amity we experience here,” he said, adding that such gatherings also help address common challenges that various Christian churches face across the world.
Cardinal Dolan also extended his congratulations to Cardinal Egan on the 28th anniversary of his consecration as bishop.
Bishop Dietsche expressed his gratitude to Archbishop Barsamian for the warm welcome, and said that he is committed to strengthening the ecumenical bonds established by his predecessors.
“We make a witness to the wider world with the friendship we share with one another,” he said. “When we bring our fraternity to the wider world, we say something the community needs to hear.”
At the conclusion of the afternoon meeting, Bishop David of the Coptic Orthodox Archdiocese of North America delivered a benediction.
Other high-ranking clergy in attendance were Bishop Melchisedek of the Orthodox Church in America; Bishop Makarios of the Eritrean Orthodox Church; Archbishop Francis Chullikatt, the Apostolic Nuncio to the United Nations; and Rev. Kurt Dunkle, Dean and President of the General Theological Seminary in New York City. Representatives of the Syrian Orthodox Church, the Malankara Syriac Church, and the National Council of Churches also took part.
In addition to Archbishop Barsamian, representing the Eastern Diocese at Friday’s event were Archbishop Vicken Aykazian, the Diocese’s Ecumenical Director; Archbishop Yeghishe Gizirian; Very Rev. Fr. Simeon Odabashian, Diocesan Vicar; Very Rev. Fr. Mamigon Kiledjian, Dean of St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral; Very Rev. Fr. Daniel Findikyan, Director of the Diocese’s Zohrab Center; and the Rev. Fr. Mardiros Chevian, Dean of St. Nersess Armenian Seminary.
Photo 1: Religious leaders in prayer at St. Vartan Cathedral.
Photo 2: Archbishop Khajag Barsamian presents Bishop Andrew Dietsche with a pectoral cross from Holy Etchmiadzin.
Photo 3: Cardinal Timothy Dolan speaks with the Very Rev. Fr. Daniel Findikyan.
Photo 4: Cardinal Timothy Dolan congratulates Bishop Andrew Dietsche.