On July 2, 2014, His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians; met with nearly 60 representatives from chapters of the Armenian Church Youth Organizations, in the Manoukian Library of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin. The youth were visiting Armenia and the Mother See from dioceses of the Armenian Church throughout the world on the occasion of the International Pan-Armenian Church Youth Organization (ACYO) Governing Board Meeting.
Present at the meeting were His Eminence Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, Primate of the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America and Spiritual Advisor of the ACYO, His Grace Bishop Vahan Hovhannesian, Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of Great Britain, and His Grace Bishop Hovakim Manukian, Primate of the Artik Diocese, and Director of the Inter-Church Relations Department of the Mother See.
The meeting began with opening remarks by Archbishop Derderian, who presented the agenda for the Pan-ACYO Governing Board meeting. During the course of the three-day meeting, agenda items include addressing issues relating to the preparations for the 3rd International Parliamentary Assembly of the ACYO, which is to take place at the Mother See in 2015; planning of events commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, and discussion on promotion of closer co-operation between the youth of different dioceses. His Eminence expressed his certainty that the meeting will help to forge more productive links between the youth organizations of various dioceses, and will strengthen the participants’ love for and loyalty to the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin and the Catholicos of All Armenians.
The Catholicos of All Armenians, extended his pontifical blessings and wishes to the diocesan youth representatives. His Holiness was pleased to note that the participation of young people brings a particular spirit of enthusiasm and zeal to church life, inspiring optimism that the Armenian Church is in safe hands. He stated with satisfaction that young Armenians from every corner of the world are working with passionate dedication, faithful to the beliefs and love of their fathers, to carry on the sacred mission of the Armenian Church. He also expressed his appreciation for the diocesan leaders, who have led young people towards the Church and kept their links with it strong.
Reflecting on the problems and challenges facing the Armenian Church and the Armenian faithful, Vehapar expressed his concern regarding the destructive activities of various religious organizations and movements, and the preaching of anti-ecclesiastical sentiments, which damage the authority of the Armenian Church. In connection with this, the Catholicos stressed the importance of the activities of the youth councils and organizations aimed at preventing such undesirable phenomena, and at spreading and strengthening spiritual and national values.
Speaking on the ACYO’s plans for the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, His Holiness urged the youth to make everyone in their countries and communities aware of the reality of the Armenian Genocide, thus making their contribution to the process of official recognition of the greatest tragedy to befall the Armenian people in the 20th century.
Finally, the Catholicos Karekin II charged the youth with the request to work with greater zeal for the protection of national and Church interests.
At the end of the meeting, the Catholicos of All Armenians answered the questions posed by the youth, which concerned plans for the implementation of the ACYO’s mission, and further work to be done.