Following the invitation of His Holiness Karekin II, and on behalf of His Beatitude Nerses Bedros XIX Catholicos Patriarch of Cilicia for Armenian Catholics, His Excellency Msgr. Vartan
Ashkarian participated in the blessing of the Holy Muron service in St. Etchmiyadzin.
On September 27, His Excellency participated in the memorial service held for the souls of the victims of the Armenian Genocide. The delegation of the religious leaders who had come to participate in the service, visited Dzidzernagapert Armenian Memorial Monument where they laid a wreath in memory of the victims.
On Sunday the 28th of September, Catholicos Karekin II led the procession out to St.DRtad open air altar, and joined by 12 Primates from the various Dioceses and in the presence of the political leaders and the public the traditional process, which takes place every seven years. Also, present at the ceremony was Ecumenical Patriatch His Holiness Bartholomew I and Cardinal Sandri from Vatican representing His Holiness Benedict XVI.
On Monday the 29th of September, His Excellency joined the delegation visiting President Serge Sarkissan led by Karekin II.
After greeting his guest, the President of Armenia thanked his guests for participating in the ceremony and said that Muron has a special symbolic importance for Armenian, emphasizing the importance of religion in maintaining peace and moral values, fighting against despair, immorality and temptations.
On behalf of His Holiness Benedict XVI, Cardinal Leonardo Sandri wished peace, prosperity to the Armenian people and said, “The enthusiasm with which people participated in the ceremony of blessing the Holy Muron shows their exceptional devotion to the church.”
In the afternoon, Cardinal Sandri and Msgr. Ashkarian headed to Gyumri to the Armenian Catholic Church where they were received and welcomed by His Excellency Msgr. Nshan Karakeheyan, and the Armenian sisters of the Immaculate Conception.