Patriarch Sahak II, fourth from left

Istanbul Armenian Patriarch Sahak II Arrives in Jerusalem

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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, center front

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.

Patriarch Sahak II, fourth from left, next to Patriarch Nourhan I, fifth from left

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.

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At the end of the ceremony, Archbishop Gharibian delivered a speech on behalf of the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem and the brotherhood, expressing satisfaction for the fact that the Armenian Patriarch of Istanbul came to Jerusalem to encourage the congregation of Holy Jerusalem these days.

Patriarch Sahak II delivered his first message at St. James in Jerusalem, declaring that he is happy to be in Jerusalem. He stated that Jerusalem has a special meaning for him, as he lived and served here as a congregation member for three years. Because of this reason, he feels at home under the roof of St. James Armenian Cathedral. Patriarch Sahak expressed his special thanks to Archbishop Nurhan I, Patriarch of Armenian Jerusalem, under whose direction the ceremony was held.

He emphasized that this scene is the glory of the Armenian Church and its people, because the Armenian Church has equal rights in the Holy Jerusalem like other traditional churches. Few people in the world know that there is a special congregation here, each member of which has dedicated his life to the preservation of the old traditional rights of our Church inside the holy places. He expressed his love and appreciation to the brotherhood of the Patriarchate of Holy Jerusalem and the Armenian community of the city.

After the welcoming ceremony, His Beatitude Sahak II was accompanied to the Patriarchate reception hall, where he was greeted by Patriarch Nourhan I of Holy Jerusalem. After a short prayer, the two patriarchs received the greetings of the guests, pilgrims and the community of Armenian Jerusalem. As a souvenir of his visit, Patriarch Sahak II presented a precious glass vase to the Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem.

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