On June 27, His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, departed for Saint Petersburg, Russia to participate in celebrations dedicated to the 300th Anniversary of the establishment of the Armenian community in Saint Petersburg. His Holiness is being accompanied by His Grace Bishop Nathan Hovhannisian, Director of the Publishing Center of the Mother See; His Grace Bishop Arshak Khachatrian, Chancellor of the Mother See; His Grace Bishop Hovakim Manoukian, Director of the Inter Church Relations Department of the Mother See; Rev. Fr. Anania Tsaturian, Staff-bearer of His Holiness; and Rev. Fr. Vahram Melikian, Director of Information Services of the Mother See.
At the airport His Holiness was met by His Grace Bishop Yezras Nersissian, Primate of the Armenian Church of Russia and New Nakhijevan; and representatives of the Armenian community.
The Pontifical visit began at the Armenian church of St. Katarine, where hundreds of faithful were waiting for the Armenian Pontiff. After the traditional greeting of being presented with salt and bread, His Holiness, escorted by Diocesan clergy, was led to the Holy Cathedral, where His Grace Bishop Yezras welcomed the visit of the Pontiff of All Armenians to Russia. His Grace extended his appreciation to God for the blessed visit of the Armenian Pontiff, and invited His Holiness to give his blessing and message to the Armenian faithful.
His Holiness encouraged the faithful to assist their clergymen in implementing projects undertaken by the Diocese, and the Diocesan and Parish councils, as these contribute to the welfare of national-ecclesiastical life and increase the blessings and prayers of God within the souls of Armenians. His Holiness also urged the Armenians to direct their efforts to the Church and to the national institutions, to participate in the national-spiritual life and in the revered activities of building and strengthening the Homeland. He counseled them to hold the brilliant image of Holy Etchmiadzin within their soul. “Remain under the blessings of the Lord, remain faithful and preserve your love towards each other and towards the national-ecclesiastical life. Your love and unity are the source of the power of your life, give reinforcement to the ecclesiastical-community life and aid the realization of beautiful projects and achievements”, the Armenian Pontiff stated in part, once again conveying the blessings of Holy Etchmiadzin.