By Armen Terjimanian
Twenty-two young adults from across the Eastern Diocese came together at Newark International Airport on June 5, 2018, to embark on a 10-day pilgrimage to the Holy Land as part of the Eastern Diocese’s Annual Young Adult Pilgrimage to Jerusalem.
The group extensively toured Jerusalem’s holy sites as well as historic Biblical areas such as Bethlehem, where Jesus was born; the Sea of Galilee, where Christ walked on water and preached to his disciples; Nazareth, where Jesus grew up; Mt. Tabor, where the Transfiguration took place; and the Jordan River, where a blessing of water service was held near the place where Jesus is believed to have been baptized by John the Baptist.
For many of the young pilgrims, the journey awakened them to the vital role Armenians and their spirituality have played in the story of the Holy Land.
“I learned that the Armenians have had a presence here for a very long time, centuries longer than I would have guessed,” said participant Emily Movsesian (of the Holy Trinity Church in Cheltenham, PA). “And that we have privileges in places like the Holy Sepulchre that are very special compared to other Christians.”
Like generations of Armenian pilgrims before them, the Diocesan youth group was welcomed to the Sts. James Armenian Patriarchate, and had an audience with the current Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem, Archbishop Nourhan Manougian.