Aram I blesses salt and bread upon arriving in Aleppo (Photo by Studio Venus) ::
His Holiness Catholicos Aram I
of the Great House of Cilicia Pays
Pontifical Visit to Armenian
Community of Aleppo
:: Source: Asbarez.com
ALEPPO, Syria—His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia arrived in Aleppo
on Thursday, one week after Syrian forced liberated the besieged largely Armenian-populated
city for an historic pontifical visit, which drew hundreds of community members who are
reeling from the war, reported the Aleppo-based Kantsasar newspaper.
Upon arriving in Aleppo, the Catholicos and his delegation were greeted in Aleppo by the
Prelate of Syria, Archbishop Shahan Sarkisian, members of the Syrian-Armenian Prelacy
National Assembly, Armenia’s Deputy Consul in Aleppo Armen Gevorgyan, Syrian-Armenian
Member of Parliament Jirair Reyisian, as well as the representatives of numerous
Aleppo-Armenian organizations and institutions.
After the traditional blessing of salt and bread, Catholicos Aram I made his way to the St. Mary
Armenian Apostolic Church, where he was welcomed by Archbishop Sarkisian on behalf of the
“Over the past five years, you—the Syrian-Armenian community and the Aleppo-Armenian
community in particular—suffered greatly and endured tremendous difficulties. It is true,
that I was not with you [physically] during these difficult five years, but rest assured that
you were constantly present and central in my prayers and service,” the Catholicos said in
his message to guests and parishioners.
Aram I went on to say that the community endured due to its unwavering faith as Christians
and dedication as Armenians. “Though many were forced to leave… the Aleppo-Armenian
community remains and will continue to thrive,” Aram I said.
In his address, Aram I also thanked Archbishop Sarkisian and all the Armenian community
organizations and institutions for their commitment to the Syrian-Armenian people during
their difficult time. The Catholicos especially thanked the Armenian volunteers, who dedicated
themselves to the defense and protection of Aleppo’s Armenian-populated districts.
The Catholicos is scheduled to meet with several community organizations and institutions
during his visit to Aleppo, including the Syrian-Armenian Committee for Urgent Relief and
Rehabilitation, members of the Prelacy’s National Assembly, Syrian-Armenian
Parliamentarians, representatives of various churches, as well as the Mufti of Aleppo
and representatives of the Muslim community.
The Catholicos will preside over Christmas Mass at Aleppo’s St. Mary Armenian Church
on Jan. 6 and will spend the weekend visiting community institutions and religious leaders.