Western Prelacy Participation in Summer Youth Academy at the Catholicosate

On Monday, August 5, 2019, the second annual Summer Youth Academy organized by the Catholicosate Christian Education Department convened in Antelias under the auspices and presesnce of His Holiness Catholicos Aram I and with the participation of young adults from the Eastern, Western, and Canada Prelacies.

Western Prelacy participants are; Shahan Atmajian, Karen Ayvazian, Lara Demirjian, Vana Demirjian, Hovig Tchagaspanian, and Paren Der Bedrossian.

The two-week curriculum encompasses a wide range of topics, including Scriptural, Armenian Church history, ecumenism, Christian-Islam dialogue, the Armenian Cause, social issues and more.

The session convened with the Lord’s Prayer, followed by welcoming remarks by Very Rev. Fr. Zareh Sarkissian, who then invited His Holiness to deliver his message.

The Pontiff greeted the participants not as guests but as members of the Catholicosate’s extended family, adding that family is sacred for Christianity and the Church itself is a holy family. The Church is not merely a physical structure, it is a mission. The Armenian people and Armenian Church have been intertwined throughout history, and the Catholicosate of the Great House of Cilicia is a spiritual hub around which the people congregate. This reality impels us to serve the people with greater devotion and awareness, said His Holiness.

The Pontiff next touched on the purpose of the youth academy, noting that it covers not only theological matters but also contemporary issues relating to our Church and people. He noted that the Church cannot dissociate itself from contemporary social issues and challenges, which is why this year’s curriculum gives greater attention to Church-people relations. You will take back with you what you learn here and put them to use for the advancement of your respective communities because knowledge is meant to be shared and utilized. Knowledge brings with it responsibility and action, and you are called to service within our national-Church life with this understanding, concluded His Holiness.

An informal discourse followed, during which participants directed questions to His Holiness and expressed concerns about religious and national matters in North America. The conversation continued over lunch.

The participants began the day with a tour of the Catholicosate grounds, including the Holy Martyrs memorial, museum, library, and Armenian Republic centennial monument, and became familiarized with the Catholicosate’s various departments and their endeavors.


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