"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Armenian Catholicos

Those who read my Orthodoxy and the Roman Papacy: Ut Unum Sint and the Prospects of East-West Unity will know the great esteem in which I hold the Armenian Apostolic Church, whose structures, which I analyze in great detail, are completely singular.

Now one of their two catholicoi, His Holiness Catholicos Aram of Cilicia, has recently published a book entitled Taking the Church to the People. The press release from his publisher tells us the following about this book:

The book consists of three parts. In the first part, Catholicos Aram I describes the nature of the church, its mission and its institutional expressions, including the parish, the dioceses and the wider Armenian community in Armenia and the Diaspora. While describing the organization of each, His Holiness suggests ways in which they should be renewed. In the second part our Pontiff identifies the core issues that the Armenian Church is currently facing. He starts with the Bible as the foundation of Christian faith and its interpretation; he then discusses the family, the school and Christian education. At the end of this section, His Holiness Aram I explains the meaning of the term "people of God" and explains why Armenian women, youth and children, who have been marginalized in the Church and all community organizations, should participate in building their communities.

In the final part of the book, His Holiness includes certain pastoral letters and messages that he has previously addressed to youth in order to prompt a meaningful dialogue with them. The book is a basic reader for all Armenians who want to learn about the Armenian Church and its faith, mission and organization. It is an invitation to the people in Armenia and the Diaspora to equip themselves with the legacy of the past and build Armenian communities responsive to the challenges of globalization. Finally, it is a guide to being the Church as the people of God both in Armenia and Diaspora.

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