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Wednesday, 5 November 2008 - Conversation with His Excellency Nshan Karakeheyan

Beirut, Lebanon

On Thursday the 30th of October 2008, His Excellency Msgr. Nshan Karakeheyan. Ordinary for the Armenian Catholics in Armenia, Eastern Europe, Greece and Iran, had a meeting with the website secretariat in the Armenian Catholic Patriarchate, during which he spoke about the present situation of the Armenian Catholic communities in Armenia, Iran and Greece.

Starting from Armenia His Excellency stated that there are currently180.000 Armenian Catholics living in different parts of Armenia especially in Shirag and Dashir areas. The Archbishop talked about the some of the difficulties that he is faced with one of which is the lack of vocations which makes it almost impossible to reach to all of the congregations across the country. Another important issue is the crisis of poverty in the villages. Although a certain part of the population has been able to overcome this crisis and improved their living conditions, the majority remains under severe circumstances, dealing with the lack of water, electricity, heating and unemployment. 

In Iran, His Excellency informed that the Armenian Catholic community counts at present to 100 families. The community has its retirement home and the Armenian Catholic Alishan School. Along the Caspian shores, a residential complex was constructed containing almost 200 villas, of which the 180 belong to families. 

His Excellency Msgr, Karakeheyan also gave broad information about the Aemenian Catholic community in Greece which was found in 1925 by the Capuchin priest Father Guregh Zohrabian, who later in 1938 was sent to Kamishli where he also founded the Armenian Catholic eparchy. There are currently 70 Armenian Catholic families in Greece, living in Athens and Pieria. The Armenian families live further than the center of the capital city which again raises the problem of gathering them for Sunday Mass and other sorts of parish activities. St. Theresa church is found in Pieria where once every year the Divine Liturgy is celebrated.

Being the Primate for different countries, Father Karakeheyan spoke about the many difficulties and obstacles created by the geographical distances between the countries, even the long distances between the cities of the same country, which create a gap and between the congregations and the Church. Therefore, Father Karakehaeyan mentioned the possibility of separating these countries, where each would have its own clergy which in the future will give more productive results.

The clergy in the eparchies that collaborate with His Excellency consist of: 5 married priest, 4 Salesian fathers and 4 celibate priests. Leading a life full of experiences which enriches the human soul, His Excellency Msgr. Karakeheyan highly appreciated the mission of priests, considering them the most important components of the Church.
At the end of the conversation, His Excellency expressed wishes of success and progress for the website.

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