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Primate of Armenian Diocese in Georgia Visits Washington, DC PDF Print E-mail

A1From November 24 to 29, a delegation of high-level representatives of religious communities in Georgia, in the USA, attended an international conference focusing on the role of religion in democracy and anti-Western propaganda. The conference was organized by the National Endowment for Democracy foundation (NED). 1The visit was organized by the Center for Development and Democracy (CDD) in cooperation with the Embassy of Georgia to the United 2States and the Information Center of NATO and EU, and was funded by the British Embassy to Georgia and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Good Governance Fund).

The delegation included leaders of the Georgian Orthodox Church together with leaders of Armenian, Catholic, and Muslim communities of Georgia.3

Among the participants was the Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Holy Church in Georgia, His Grace Bishop Vazgen Mirzakhanyan.

The visit and the international conference were unique, as religious life of Georgia was represented by the leaders of traditional religious 4communities of the country. The conference was a big success; as a matter of fact it became a turning point in the outside world’s perception of religious life of Georgia; the attitude of the Georgian Orthodox Church, Catholic, and Muslim communities towards various religious dogmas was voiced. The Primate of the Armenian Diocese in Georgia expressed the views of the Armenian Apostolic Holy Church.

During a five-day visit, the clergymen had the chance to meet with numerous US government officials, representatives of civil society and academic circles. The delegation's busy5 schedule included Washington DC tour, visiting the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, the Sacred Monastery of Saint Nina in Maryland, St. George’s Church in Philadelphia. The visit to the Library of Congress and viewing archives was particularly impressive. Our compatriot Dr. Levon Avdoyan is the Armenian and Georgian area specialist at the Library of Congress. Armenian manuscripts and Georgian literature were presented to 6the visitors. The Primate of the Armenian Diocese in Georgia was informed that the Armenian collections, number approximately 45,000 items; with admiration he viewed 16th century Liturgical book written by the Armenian priest, which through symbols and ornaments and special comments displayed the whole course of the Divine Liturgy of the Armenian Church.7

During the trip, with the blessing of the Primate of the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church in the U.S. Archbishop Khazhak Parsamyan; Bishop Vazgen visited the St. Mary Armenian Apostolic Church in Washington, DC, where the local Pastor, Rev. Father Hovsep Karapetyan warmly welcomed the Diocesan Primate, spoke about the educational, cultural and spiritual activities implemented by the Armenian community of Washington, DC.

Later, at the Holy Trinity Armenian Church, Bishop Vazgen accompanied by Rev. Father Hakob Gevorgyan attended the Divine Liturgy, offered a homily about Christian love, unity, 8referred to the spiritual life of the Armenian Diocese in Georgia, the diocesan activities. The 9Primate met with the local faithful, was informed about the link between the Church and the Armenian population, the preservation of the Mother language, and offered his message to those present.

Bishop Vazgen Mirzakhanyan and members of the delegation visited Embassy of Armenia to the United States of America and Embassy of Georgia to the United States of America; met with Grigor Hovhannissian, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Armenia; and David Bakradze, Ambassador of Georgia to the United States of America.

During the sessions, the Primate of the Armenian Diocese in Georgia was accompanied by Rev. Archpriest Fr. Zareh Zargarian, 12Parish Priest of Holy Trinity Armenian Church Vicar of the Armenian Holy Apostolic Church Diocese of Canada.11

Appreciating the working visit and the international conference, the Primate of the Armenian Diocese in Georgia, His Grace Bishop Vazgen Mirzakhanyan emphasized that for the first time a meeting was held with the participation of representatives of various religions, during which they spoke about freedom of religion, similarities and differences between the religions, the challenges facing religion, global challenges to democracy. He attached great importance to making friends while traveling and similar meetings.

On November 30 the delegation returned to Tbilisi.

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