#100, 2003-05-28 | #101, 2003-05-30 | #102, 2003-05-31


On Thursday, May 29, the Armenian Church commemorated the Feast of the Ascension of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Divine Liturgy was celebrated in the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin under the presidency of His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians. The celebrant was Rev. Fr. Torgom Tonikian, from the Brotherhood of Holy Etchmiadzin. The Feast of Ascension is celebrated 40 days following Easter Sunday.

On the Feast of Ascension, the worldwide Armenian Church also celebrates the restoration and relocation of the Mother See of the Armenian Church back to her historical and rightful place, Holy Etchmiadzin. In 1441, after nearly 1000 years of existing in temporary locations, the National Ecclesiastical Assembly decided to return the Catholicosate of All Armenians to the city of Vagharshapat and to the location established by St. Gregory the Illuminator as the seat of the Pontificate.

Following the Divine Liturgy, to commemorate that historic and joyous day in the life of our Church and Nation, and to confirm the eternity of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, a Pontifical Blessing service was conducted before the Holy Altar of Descent in the Mother Cathedral. At the conclusion of the service, the Brotherhood of the Holy Etchmiadzin, seminarians, guests and hundreds of faithful sang the "Etchmiadzin" Hymn, joyously inviting all to "Come and build the Holy Altar of Light, from where the light shone forth for us in the land of Armenia". This was followed by the Pontifical Hymn asking God to grant long life to the Catholicos of All Armenians, and to keep unshaken the Holy Mother See of the Armenian Nation.

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