His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, made a Pontifical historic visit to the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America from October 25 to November 4, 2017.
The visit was on the occasion of the 90th anniversary of the establishment of the Western Diocese.
As part of the Western Diocese, His Holiness also visited Mexico where he also met with the Mayor of Mexico City, religious leaders and the members of the Armenian community.
His Holiness paid a visit to the AGBU Vatche and Tamar Manoukian Armenian Day School in Pasadena, where students from the AGBU Manoogian-Demirjian School in Canoga Park students also presented a program. His Holiness was accompanied by His Eminence Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, Primate, His Eminence Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Eastern Diocese, as well as other clergymen, Mr. Berge Setrakian, President of AGBU, Mr. and Mrs. Vatche and Tamar Manoukian and clergy. His Holiness blessed the students, philanthropists and the newly-renovated Performing Arts Center.
He also visited Ararat Home for the Aged in Mission Hills, presided over the dedication and consecration of the new wing.
His Holiness had cordial gatherings with over 1,500 students from Armenian schools and ACYO members in three days, delivered spiritual messages, talked to them and had a question-and-answer session. The youngsters were extremely happy, including my grandchildren, and felt spiritually enriched. His Holiness, who encouraged them to continue learning Armenian, attend church, get higher education, and follow their parent’s advice and stressed: “A nation without education is like a body without a mind.”
He had a cordial dinner-meeting with representatives of the Armenian Evangelical Union and the Armenian Missionary Association, as well as community organizations, and individuals. After the Hrashapar Service, he met with the community members at the Kalaydjian Hall of the St. Leon Cathedral of the Western Diocese. Similarly, and the Pontifical Banquet, he met with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, elected officials, philanthropists, and parishioners. The cordial gatherings with the students and ACYO members were the most gratifying, fruitful, and important instilling the Armenian Church’s Christian faith in the youngsters, including my grandchildren. They were extremely happy and felt gratified meeting with His Holiness, who encouraged them to continue learning Armenian, attend church, get a higher education, and follow their parent’s advice.
A most important event was the meeting of the Supreme Spiritual Council of the Armenian Church for the first time in Los Angeles from November 1st through the 3rd.
The visit left an indelible impression on the parishioners and community members as the Catholicos stressed several times to keep and enrich the Armenian heritage. He also spoke about strengthening the Armenian Church by eliminating the difference and uniting the Armenian Church.