His Holiness Aram I Raises Ethnic Cleansing of Artsakh’s Armenian Christians with U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson

His Holiness Aram I Raises Ethnic Cleansing of Artsakh’s Armenian Christians with U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson

— Highlights Plight of Artsakh Armenians in Opening Prayer of U.S. House of Representatives

WASHINGTON, DC – His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia of the Armenian Apostolic Church, today called for American leadership in aiding Artsakh’s 100,000 Armenian Christian refugees, during discussions with U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA), Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), and a dozen U.S. Representatives, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).

“We warmly welcome His Holiness Aram I’s constructive consultations with Congressional leaders – among them Speaker Johnson and former Speaker Pelosi,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. “A global ambassador for Armenian aspirations and inter-faith understanding, His Holiness represents a powerful voice for justice in Washington and in capitals around the world.”

The Armenian pontiff was on Capitol Hill at the invitation of Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and served as Guest Chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives.

After a meeting in the Capitol with Speaker Johnson, Rep. Schiff, and U.S. House Chaplain Rev. Dr. Margaret Grun Kibben, His Holiness Aram I offered the opening prayer at today’s U.S. House of Representatives session.  In his prayer, he noted, “Help us, God of Mercy, remember in our prayers more than one hundred thousand Armenian refugees who were recently forced to leave Nagorno Karabakh, their centuries old homeland…” The prayer was televised on CSPAN and streamed live on the ANCA’s social media channels, available here:

In remarks on the U.S. House floor, Rep. Schiff welcomed His Holiness Aram I to Congress, noting that “his unwavering commitment to the values of faith, community, and compassion embodies the spirit of our vibrant Armenian community.”  Rep. Schiff went on to stress that His Holiness Aram I’s “support for humanitarian issues, advocacy for human rights, engagement in several educational and cultural initiatives, and promotion of interfaith understanding have left an indelible mark making the world a better place for all.”

Following the prayer, His Holiness Aram I met with Speaker Pelosi, House Democratic Whip Representative Katherine Clark (D-MA), and Representatives Jim Costa (D-CA), Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Young Kim (R-CA), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Brad Sherman (D-CA), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Dina Titus (D-NV), at a reception hosted by the ANCA. His Holiness also met separately with Rep. Jerry Carl (R-AL).  The Armenian pontiff praised members of the Congressional Armenian Staff Association in attendance, for their efforts to educate elected officials on Armenian American concerns.

Prior to leaving the Capitol, His Holiness Aram I led fellow clergy in a moving rendition of The Lord’s Prayer, sung in Armenian in the Congressional Prayer Room near the rotunda in the United States Capitol.

During his visit to the U.S. Capitol, Catholicos Aram I was accompanied by His Eminence Archbishop Anoushavan Tanielian, Prelate of the Eastern U.S. Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America; His Eminence Archbishop Papken Tcharian, Prelate of the Canadian Prelacy; His Grace Bishop Torkom Donoyan, Prelate of the Western U.S. Prelacy; Very Rev. Fr. Sahag Yemishian, Vicar General of the Eastern U.S. Prelacy; Very Rev. Fr. Hovagim Panjarjian, head of the Catholicosate Media Department; Very Rev. Fr. Sarkis Aprahamian, head of the Middle East and Christian-Islam dialogue section of the Ecumenical Department of the Catholicosate; Mr. Stepan Der Bedrosian, co-chair of the Central Executive Council of the Catholicosate; Leaders of the Executive Councils of the Eastern U.S. Prelacy, Western U.S. Prelacy, and Canadian Prelacy; as well ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian and members of the ANCA Washington DC Staff.

His Holiness Aram I arrived in Washington, DC earlier this week, the first stop in his visit to the Eastern Prelacy, continuing his mission to revitalize Diasporan life through the various fields of activity of the Cilician Catholicosate prelacies.