On Tuesday, June 2, 2015 His Holiness Aram I, Armenian Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia, accompanied with Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan, the Primate of the Eastern Prelacy and Archbishop Anushavan Tanyelian, visited the Armenian Museum of America, where they were warmly greeted by a number of ALMA trustees and friends.
During a tour of the museum and its collections led by ALMA Director Berj Chekijian and Curator Gary Lind-Sinanian, the Catholicos admired recent extensive renovations to the building and was astonished at the number of artifacts ALMA has acquired over the past forty five plus years. Vehapar was particularly interested in several of the religious treasures currently on exhibit, including the reliquaries, the 13th century Garabed Gospel (which he had blessed during his visit to Watertown in October 2005), and the two 19th century chalices from the Armash seminary in Turkey that were recently added to the collections. He also commented on the museum’s permanent exhibit on the Armenian Genocide, offering suggestions to expand the exhibit in certain areas. As the tour entered the Karsh Gallery, His Holiness was very impressed with the permanent exhibit and recalled how he had been photographed by the famous photographer in the mid-1990s.
Before ending his visit, Catholicos Aram gave a moving talk in praise of the museum’s trustees, staff, and local community for their heroic efforts in creating such a professional institution to represent Armenian culture. He went on to extoll the larger community to support the museum through donating artifacts and providing financial support. The visit to the museum, which was arranged through the efforts of ALMA Board members Michele Kolligian and Bob Khederian, came towards the end of a major Pontifical Tour to the United States that included Genocide commemorations in New York City and Washington