For the first time in the history of the past few centuries of Iran's
Armenian community, an Armenian Catholicos visited Arak, a town which
lies at a distance of approximately 275 Km from Tehran and where the
few remaining Armenians have still preserved their church and school.
After a regular service held in the Armenian Church of Arak, Archbishop
Sarkissian welcomed His Holiness and presented to him the Armenians
of Arak, who though small in numbers, have a strong will to preserve
their Armenian identity.
"I come to Arak from far away Antelias to be with you, to bring the
love and care of the Armenian Church, so that living in this isolated
place, far from large Armenian communities and distant from the center
of the Diocese, you wouldn't remain deprived of our church's spiritual
and moral support and encouragement," said His Holiness.
His Holiness praised the director of the Armenian school of Arak and
granted her the St. Mesrob Mashdots Medal of Honor. He also praised
the members of the church's and the school's boards of trustees and
all the Armenians of Arak for their dedication to the community. His
Holiness commended the primate of Tehran who has paid special attention
and care to Arak.
His Holiness also received the town's police chief. He visited the
St. Hagop Armenian Church, built in 1718 and located in the formerly
Armenian-populated village of Kalava. His Holiness said a short prayer
and then visited the village's Armenian cemetery, which is rich with
Khatchkars (crosses of stone).
The Syrian Ambassador to Iran had organized a luncheon in honor of
His Holiness a day earlier, on May 15. The primate of Tehran and
the ambassadors of Bahrain, Lebanon, United Arab Emirates, Palestine
and a number of other countries attended the luncheon in the Syrian
Source: PRESS RELEASE: Catholicosate of Cilicia
Communication and Information Department
Contact: V.Rev.Fr.Krikor Chiftjian, Communications Officer
Tel: (04) 410001, 410003
Fax: (04) 419724
E- mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Armenian version: http://www.cathcil.org/v04/doc/Armenian.htm
Original title: HIS HOLINESS PAYS HIS FIRST VISIT TO ARAK