The Armenian Church today is dispersed throughout every continent of the world. Scattered about from centuries of attempting to escape persecution and most recently the Genocide of 1915 – 1923, Armenians have established communities and built churches wherever their fate delivered them. As the balance of the Armenian population has shifted throughout time, the Church has strived to meet the needs of her people. She has a distinct hierarchy, which maintains a balance within the Church herself. The center of this balance has always been the Catholicosate of All Armenians, and the heart of the Church, where She receives her lifeblood, is the global headquarters of the Armenian Church, the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin.
Through the visionary leadership of His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, and the spiritual guidance of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, our Seminaries, Patriarchates, Dioceses, Parishes and most importantly, Clergy and faithful of the Armenian Church have played an active role in shaping our future today. Their collective strength has created a net that has been cast across the world.
This section provides the most current and relevant information on His Holiness Karekin II, along with an archive of his Sermons, Special Messages, and Encyclicals. Up to date specifics on the backbone of the Armenian Church, her worldwide clergy, Patriarchates, Dioceses, Parishes and Seminaries, is also provided. Links to websites and contact information are provided where available. As information changes this section will be updated appropriately.
The Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin is the spiritual and administrative headquarters of the worldwide Armenian Church, the center of the faith of the Armenian nation – the Mother Cathedral of the Armenian Church, and the Pontifical residence of His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians. The Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin is a blend of the past, present and future of the worldwide Armenian Church.
Preserving the past are the numerous museums, libraries and the Mother Cathedral itself, all holding a vast richness of history and treasures. The Mother See is responsible for the preservation of artifacts, both those created by the Church and those given to the church as gifts over time.
Carrying on the work of the present and future are the innumerable departments and programs of the Armenian Church. Under the leadership and guidance of His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, the Mother See administers to social, cultural and educational programs for Armenia and the Diaspora.
The Mother Cathedral, founded by the Descent of Christ, has stood as a symbol against time of the Armenian faith, nation and people. The Cathedral is the most recognized landmark of the Armenian Church. Built and consecrated by St. Gregory the Illuminator and St. Trdat the Great in AD 303, the Cathedral is located in the city of Vagharshapat.
St. Gregory chose the location of the Cathedral in accordance with a vision that he had. In his dream he saw “Miatsin”, the Only Begotten Son of God, with glittering light on his face descending from the Heavens and with a golden hammer striking the ground where the Cathedral was to be located. Hence comes the name “Etchmiadzin”, which translates literally to “the place” where the Only-Begotten Son of God descended.
The Mother Cathedral is open to the faithful everyday from 7:30 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. Divine Liturgy is celebrated every Sunday starting at 11:00 a.m., except on Feast Days or special occasions when it starts at 10:30 a.m. Morning services are conducted starting at 7:30 a.m. Monday through Saturday and at 8:00 a.m. on Sunday. Evening Services are conducted at 5:30 p.m. every day.