By Florence Avakian
NEW YORK — At New York’s St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral, a very special event took place on Sunday morning, October 30.
High-ranking Armenian clergymen from around the world, dignitaries from both coasts, and a large number of faithful welcomed the Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, Karekin II, for a celebration of the 17th anniversary of his enthronement as leader of the global Armenian Church.
The ceremony preceded a week of meetings of the Supreme Spiritual Council, under the leadership of His Holiness, which was held at the Manhattan headquarters of the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of America—the first time in its history that the Council has gathered away from Armenia. Attending were more than a dozen bishops from diocesan jurisdictions throughout the world, including the primates of Artsakh, the Eastern and Western U.S., Canada, France, Australia, Russia, Siunik, Georgia, and Armenia’s Araratian region. The patriarchates of Jerusalem and Constantinople also were represented.
On Sunday, October 30, with Catholicos Karekin II presiding, the Divine Liturgy was celebrated by Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, Primate of the Western Diocese. The homily was delivered by Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Eastern Diocese.
The badarak began with the majestic hymn Hrashapar, sung by a combined choir from St. Vartan Cathedral and area parishes, under the direction of guest conductor Kris Kalfayan. Several solos were sung by Metropolitan Opera tenor Yeghishe Manucharian, including the moving Der Voghormia by Komitas.