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February 6th, 2006 - Post No. 13

Today was a very full day, to say the least, that closed with a meeting of the Brotherhood of the Catholicosate to bid  farewell to his Holiness Aram the First, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia. His Holliness leaves tomorrow and will be away until the end of the month, to attend the 9th International Assembly of the World Council of Churches, taking place in Brazil (February 14-23), where he will complete his second (and last) term as the Moderator of the WCC. He goes first the WCC headquarters in Geneva, to complete preparations for the assembly itself.

There were basically two items on the agenda for tonight’s meeting. First, some housekeeping measures that his Holiness wanted to settle before his departure: among these, the announcement of preaching assignments at the Cathedral here for the season of Lent. The second item on the agenda was to formally present yours truly to the Brotherhood here. His Holiness began with a very generous presentation of my own work and ministry and with a very well informed overview of the Anglican Church of Canada and the larger Anglican Communion.

His Holiness described his pleasure at meeting Archbishop Andrew Hutchinson, our new Primate, during his visit to Canada last fall, and he expressed his appreciation for the two previous Primates of Canada, notably Archbishop Michael Peers, for whom his Holiness demonstrates particular affection.

Hi Holiness described the Anglican Church as exemplary in the ecumenical movement, modelling in its own communion the coexistence of different theological and liturgical orientations. He rejoiced in the dialogue both formal and informal of recent years between the Oriental Orthodox churches and the Anglican Communion, lamenting the suspension of the formal dialogue in 2003 over what he called serious differences in ethical and moral teachings — but that on questions of doctrine, there is very little difference between the two groups.

He also spoke of his very fond memories of Bishop Henry Hill who visited the Catholicosate on two occasions as emissary for the Archbishop of Canterbury in the Anglican conversations with the Oriental Orthodox churches.
Then his Holiness then asked me to talk about my home church both specifically, in Quebec City and more generally, the Anglican Church of Canada and the world-wide Anglican Communion.

(Photos: Fr Krikor Chiftjian, Director of Communications)