Catholicos of All Armenians Makes Pontifical Visit to India

On September 25, 2014 His Holiness Karekin II Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians visited the Armenian Holy Church of Nazareth, Kolkata. He was escorted by the wardens of the church, Mrs. Susan Reuben and Mr. Sunil Sobti; Very Rev. Fr. Zaven Yazichyan; Armenian Spiritual Pastor of India and Manager of the Armenian College and Philanthropic Academy; Rev. Fr. Paruyr Avetisyan, Director of the Intra Church Relations Department of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin and guests. A special prayer service was performed on the graves of the Church.

Thereafter His Holiness also visited St. Gregory the Illuminator Chapel. There he met the community members and blessed the inmates residing in the old-age home of the chapel with special healing prayers. Later a special requiem service was held in the graveyard of the chapel in remembrance of the Armenian ancestors who lived and died in India.

Thereafter the Pontiff visited the seat of Armenian education in India, the Armenian College and Philanthropic Academy of Kolkata. The students, teachers and staff had put together a warm welcome for His Holiness. They greeted Him with a red carpet affair, respectfully tinged with the Armenian tradition of offering bread and salt to the guest of honor. He was then led to the school auditorium which had been beautifully decorated by the students in anticipation of His Holiness visit. The welcome program was initiated with the Lords prayer, followed by the national anthem of countries, Armenia and India, and finally the school song. Very Rev. Fr. Zaven addressed a welcome speech to His Holiness; the students presented mementos to His Holiness, and then commenced an elaborate cultural program prepared in honor of His Holiness’s visit to India and the Armenian College.

The school choir began the proceedings with wonderful rendition of famous Armenian, Hindi and Bengali songs. Then the students presented an Indian dance and recited the poem “Dance of Sasoon” by Gevorg Emin. The teachers expressed their joy on this special occasion through a Bengali song sung by teacher Mrs. Soma Sarkar. A PowerPoint slideshow was also presented charting the history of Armenians in India from the 17th century to current day.

At the end His Holiness concluded the program by congratulating the community, staff & students on the marked improvements and progress made by the school over the last year. He also requested the staff of the college to carry on the good and noble word of educating the children of the new generation and advised the children to be receptive and grateful for the knowledge being imparted to them.

The day ended with the students, teachers and guests sitting down to lunch with His Holiness and a photo session to commemorate the Pontifical visit to the Armenian College.

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