His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew Participates in Celebrations Marking 1700th Anniversary of Official Recognition of Armenian Apostolic Church
Apr 4, 2001
His Beatitude Patriarch Mesrob II of the Armenians in Turkey and the Religious Council of the Armenian Patriarchate invited His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to attend the celebration marking the 1700th anniversary of the official recognition of the Armenian Apostolic Church. The celebration was held at the Holy Mother of God Patriarchal Church in Kumkapi, Istanbul on Saturday, March 31st. Also present were representatives of the other Christian Churches of Istanbul. Similar celebrations are scheduled for the other sees of the Armenian Church in Holy Etchmiadzin, Armenia, and in Cilicia, Antelias, Lebanon.
Accompanying His All Holiness were His Eminence Metropolitan Iakovos of Laodiceia, His Grace Bishop Emmanuel of Reghion and the Very Reverend Grand Archdeacon Tarasios.
Following is the full text of the Patriarchs greeting.
[Translation from the Greek original]
Your Beatitude, Patriarch Mesrob II of the Armenians in Turkey, much beloved and dear brother in Christ God: Grace and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ be with You.
We should like to express to Your beloved Beatitude and through You to all the Armenians who are faithful to Christ our spiritual participation in the joy of the Christ-loving Armenian people upon the 1700th anniversary, rightfully and festally celebrated, of the mass reception by the Armenian Nation of the faith in Jesus Christ the Son and Logos of God. Sharing with all our soul in the celebration of this joyful and historic event, we congratulate You wholeheartedly on this notable and historic anniversary and pray for You and the beloved Armenian people that the celebration of this anniversary may become an opportunity for each person-member of Your historic people to draw closer to Christ. For in this way the participation of each individual in Your celebration of this anniversary will become everyones personal sharing and experience of the faith in Christ as perfect God-man and Savior, and thus a sincere and concrete re-actualization of the celebrated event, which, of course, is the final and essential purpose of every ecclesiastical celebration. It can otherwise be said that each believers union with Christ constitutes both the unique way of union of all the believers with one another and the restoration of full unity among the Churches. For every other cooperation between Churches, however desirable and praiseworthy it may be, is a stage in the journey towards unity among them, and only the union of all with Christ substantially renders the unity of the Churches as a complete event.
Addressing these things to You and to Your beloved flock on the occasion of Your Patriarchates celebration of this historic anniversary, we extend the heartfelt greeting of our Church and our warm congratulations to all Armenian faithful throughout the earth, and we invoke upon all the grace and rich mercy of our Holy Triune God. Amen.
Beloved brother in Christ
Bartholomew of Constantinople