Thursday, October 18, 2007

His Holiness Karekin II Pays Personal Visit in Miami to Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens & All Greece

Miami – His Beatitude Archbishop Christodoulos, the Greek Orthodox Church of Athens and All Greece, was visited by His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, at a private home in Miami this morning.

His Beatitude Archbishop Christodoulos traveled to the United States earlier this year for medical treatment. His Holiness Karekin II, aware of His Beatitude?s failing health, expressed his desire to visit him. Taking time out from his pastoral visits to his parishes as part of his 18 city, 14-state Pontifical Visit to the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern), the Catholicos of All Armenians paid a personal visit to his friend and collaborator, Archbishop Christodoulos earlier this morning in Miami.

His Beatitude Archbishop Christodoulos expressed his sincere pleasure in receiving His Holiness Karekin II, who was accompanied in the personal visit by His Eminence Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Eastern Diocese.

His Holiness Karekin II and His Eminence Archbishop Khajag Barsamian were joined this morning by the Greek Consul General to Tampa, His Excellency Andreas Psycharis, two Bishops from the Greek Orthodox Church, His Eminence Metropolitan Theologos of Serres and Bishop Theoklitos of Vresthena, and the Chancellor to His Beautitude, the Reverend Thomas Synodinos and several assistants.

His Eminence Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, His Holiness Karekin II and His Beatitude Christodoulos Praying In Armenian and Greek.

The Catholicos shared with His Beatitude Archbishop Christodoulos that the mutual respect and history between Greece and Armenia mean a great deal to him. Together, the two faith leaders and friends reminisced about their last meeting in Istanbul in 2006, which took place at the invitation of His All Holiness Bartholomew I, Ecumenical Patriarch of the Greek Orthodox Church which was joined with the invitation of His Beatitude Mesrob II, Armenian Patriarch of Istanbul and All Turkey.

As a pledge of his fraternal affection, His Holiness Karekin II presented Archbishop Christodoulos with an Armenian Cross. Afterwards, the two spiritual leaders prayed together in Greek and Armenian. The Archbishop presented a silver plate to His Holiness Karekin II and an icon to His Eminence Khajag Barsamian. The silver plate given to the Catholicos bares the personal seal and signature of His Beatitude Archbishop Christodoulos, marking it as an intimate, personal gift. His Beatitude conveyed to the Catholicos that the kindness he showed in taking time out from his Pontifical Visit to pay his respects and pray with him provided considerable spiritual consolation.

Before departing, His Holiness told His Beatitude Christodoulos that he would continue to pray for his good health again that morning during a service at St. Mary Armenian Church in Hollywood, Florida.

His Beatitude expressed his happiness to the Catholicos about the Armenian Genocide Resolution out of the House Foreign Affairs Committee being passed on October 10. Both noted the losses to human life inflicted upon their respective peoples at the close of the Ottoman Empire.

Relations between Greece and Armenia are very strong both emotionally and historically, due to their long, shared history and their mutual commitment to the Christian faith. Greeks and Armenians lived side by side during both the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires.

Historically, relations between Greece and Armenia have been very warm. The President of the Hellenic Republic, President Karolos Papoulias, accompanied by First Lady Mei Papoulias, was invited to Armenia on a three-day state visit in June 2007 by the invitation of Armenia?s President, Robert Kocharian. President Kocharian had previously been invited to, and visited Greece in 2000.

While making his State visit to Armenia in 2007, President Papoulias made a pilgrimage to Holy Etchmiadzin where he was received by His Holiness Karekin II at the Catholicosate. The President also visited the cathedral of Holy Etchmiadzin along with the Catholicos.

Following the visit to the Archbishop of the Greek Orthodox Church of Athens and All Greece, His Holiness Karekin II asked the Armenian faithful to pray for the Archbishop's good health at St. Mary's Armenian Church in Hollywood, Florida. As part of the service at St. Mary Armenian Church, His Holiness Karekin II blessed the khatchkar?s (Armenian stone crosses) on the altar of the Church.

The Catholicos, His Holiness Karekin II, began his Pontifical Visit to his flock in the United States with a two-day visit to the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of America in California at the beginning of October. The Catholicos will be visiting the faithful in the Eastern Diocese for an unprecedented 30 days which will be concluded on November 3rd. During the course of the Pontifical Visit, His Holiness Karekin II will visit 18 cities in 14 different states (a complete list of visits can be found online at:

Daily coverage of the Pontifical Visit can be found online on the official Pontifical Visit Web Site ( The site provides a wealth of information about His Holiness Karekin II, the Armenian Church, and the Diaspora and includes daily photographic and video updates to allow the faithful throughout the United States and the world to stay abreast of events, activities and worship services.

For more information on the Pontifical Visit of His Holiness Karekin II, including supplemental media advisories and background papers, please visit: and



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