SAN LAZZARO, Venice – The Mekhitarist Congregation is delighted to announce the official inauguration of the ceremonies for the 300th Jubilee of the Foundation of the Mekhitarist Abbey of San Lazzaro in the Venetian Lagoon.
The official start of the jubilee year on September 8 was preceded by a series of events which included a performance by the world-renowned Tallis Scholars. Their concert, which included two Armenian sacred works, was given on July 14 in the magnificent surroundings of St Mark’s Basilica and was attended by Patriarch of Venice Francesco Moraglia.
September 8 is a crucial day in the history of the Mekhitarist Congregation: it was on this day in the year 1700, that Mekhitar founded his Order in Constantinople; it was on September 8, 1715 that he arrived in Venice; and it was on September 8, 1717, that he established his Order’s permanent headquarters on the Island of San Lazzaro, after being granted permission to do so by the Serenissima, the Most Serene Republic of Venice.
Finally, it was on September 8, 1810, that an imperial decree issued by Napoleon granted the Mekhitarist monks leave to maintain their Congregation on the island of San Lazzaro, while all other religious congregations in Northern Italy were banned and their possessions confiscated.
On September 8, 2017, at 11:00 am, the solemn celebration of the Divine Liturgy for the Nativity of the Saint Mary the Virgin was officiated by the designated Prior of the Monastery, Fr. Serovpe Jamourlian in the presence of Msgr. Levon Zekiyan, Pontifical Delegate for the Mekhitarist Congregation, in the church of the Abbey.
On Saturday, September 9, at 4:00 pm, the premiere of the documentary film on the life of Abbot Mekhitar, directed by Hakob Papazyan (Armenia, 2017), was screened at the Moorat-Raphael College to a select audience. Among those present, besides Msgr. Zekiyan, was the Diaspora Minister of the Republic of Armenia Hranush Hakobyan, the Armenian Ambassador to Italy Victoria Bagdassarian, and the Armenian Ambassador to the Vatican Mikayel Minasyan. At 6:00 pm, a Solemn Vespers service in the Armenian rite was celebrated at St. Mark’s Basilica in which Patriarch Moragliaand the high clergy of Venice also participated.