JERUSALEM — Armenian Patriarch of Istanbul Sahak II, together with priests and pilgrims from Istanbul, are visiting the Holy Land on a special pilgrimage. It is the patriarch’s first official visit to Jerusalem since he was elected patriarch.
The members of the patriarchal entourage, Fr. Hovagim Seropian, Manager of the Publication Department; Fr. Kasbar Garabedian, Pastor of St. Mary Patriarchal Cathedral; Archpriest Fr. Krikor Damadian, Patriarchal Vicar; Fr. Shirvan Murzian, Staff-bearer to His Beatitude; Fr. Natan Arabian, Fr. Nerses Ayvazian and Fr. Melkon Pınarcian arrived in Jerusalem. The members of the Armash Choir of the Armenian Patriarchate of Istanbul and many pilgrims from Istanbul, Armenia, USA and elsewhere already arrived in Jerusalem.
Patriarch Sahak II arrived in Israel on October 17 and was greeted upon his arrival by Very. Rev. Fr. Goryun Baghdasarian, Chancellor of the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem. At 1:30 p.m., a large crowd of clergymen, pilgrims and people gathered in front of the Jaffa Gate. Representatives of the sister churches participated in the welcoming ceremony, including a bishop of the Syrian Orthodox Church, members of the Coptic Church and the Vicar General of Latin Patriarchate, as well as the Armenian ambassador of Jerusalem and Armenian scouts.
In front of the Jaffa Gate, Archbishop Sevan Gharibian, the Grand Sacristan of the Armenian Patriarchate, welcomed Patriarch Sahak II. The Brotherhood of St. James, with the performance of the scouts and applause of the pilgrims, accompanied the patriarch in procession from Jaffa Gate to the Armenian Monastery of St. James.
A “hrashapar” service was held in St. James Armenian Cathedral of Jerusalem in honor of Patriarch Sahak II, who entered the cathedral and offered his first prayer in the St. James Chapel.