On September 17, 2013, His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians presided over the consecration ceremony of Holy Transfiguration Cathedral in Moscow, Russia. Primates from the largest Dioceses around the world including H.E. Abp. Hovnan Derderian, Primate of the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America, also participated in the ceremony.
Present at this historic event in the life of the Armenian Diocese of New Nakhijevan and Russia were Mr. Serzh Sargsyan, President of the Republic of Armenia; Mr. Bako Sahakyan, President of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic; benefactors of the Diocesan complex constructions; Diocesan primates of Armenian Dioceses and Armenian benefactors from all over the world; Armenian state officials; education and cultural workers; prominent cultural figures; government representatives of the Russian Federation and its capital, Moscow.
Attending the ceremony was also His Holiness Kirill I, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, accompanied by clergy of the Russian Orthodox Church.
The solemn ceremony was initiated when under the singing of church hymns, a festive procession, led by the Catholicos of All Armenians, together with the bishops, members of the Brotherhood of the Mother See, and the Diocesan clergy; headed towards the newly built Holy Cathedral. Blessing thousands of Armenians gathered there, His Holiness ascended to the altar where the Consecration ceremony of the magnificent Diocesan Cathedral began.
During the Divine Liturgy, under the singing of psalms, the clergy washed the Holy Altar of the Cathedral and the pillars with wine and water. The Catholicos of All Armenians consecrated the Holy Altar of the Cathedral with Holy Chrism and the Bishops consecrated the altar pillars bearing the names of the four apostles and the other ten pillars of the church. Blessing the newly- built church, His Holiness Karekin II named it the Holy Transfiguration Cathedral.
At the conclusion of the Consecration service a cross shaped reliquary, containing a fragment from the relic of the Lord's Holy wooden Cross that is kept in the Mother See, was brought to the Holy Altar. The Catholicos of All Armenians granted it to the newly- consecrated Holy Transfiguration Cathedral at this significant event of reinforcing the spiritual life of all the faithful servants of the diocese. Also presented to the church was an ornamented lantern.
After placing the relic of the Holy Cross on the Holy Altar, His Grace Bishop Yezras Nersisyan, Primate of the Armenian Diocese of New Nakhijevan and Russia, highlighted the importance of the new Mother Cathedral of Moscow in the lives of the Armenians in Russia. In the name of the Diocesan council, the clergymen and faithful Armenian people, His Grace expressed appreciation to the Catholicos of All Armenians for the unwavering support shown from Holy Etchmiadzin and His Holiness during the entire construction process of the church, and for consecrating the magnificent Cathedral.
The Catholicos of All Armenians brought his Pontifical blessings to all the present faithful people, extending gratitude to Almighty God and reflecting on the importance of the sacred sanctuary in the lives of the Armenians in Russia. "Today is a day of spiritual rapture for all of us: through the noble and generous donations of the faithful Armenians in Russia the new sanctuary, with the outstanding Diocesan complex, magnificently stands in the capital of Russia, Moscow. The Cathedral was named Holy Transfiguration, bringing a new light to the Armenian community of Russia. Just as the Lord transfigured on the mountain, our faithful children will go through transformation and transfiguration here with the heavenly graces coming from the sacred altar of the church, renewing and reinforcing the spirit. Indeed, St. John Chrysostom, one of the Fathers of the Universal Church, in the prophecy of Yesayi assimilates the church to a high mountain that overthrows all attacks from the enemy, and the Catholicos of blessed memory, St. Hovhan Mandakuni calls the church a heaven on earth, where we communicate with the Heavenly Spirits, rising above the carnal towards the spiritual, reconciling with Christ and gathering with the faithful to embody Christ.
The Cathedral is the stone-built symbol of our spiritual unity, and the apostle made a reference to it, saying, "You are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household "built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the chief cornerstone." (Ephesians 2:19-20)", noted the Catholicos of All Armenians.
Speculating on the significant role of the Church in the lives of the Armenian people and the Armenian community of Russia, His Holiness Karekin II remarked, "For our nation dispersed all over the world the affiliating and illuminating impact of the church is of vital significance. Far from the Homeland, the nomadic children of Armenia united under the Mother Cathedral and reinforced with spiritual values and assistance and support from the brother countries and nations here, in the Russian Federation, forged their national and church life and preserved their faith and the spirit of national unity.
Dear faithful children, we consecrated this magnificent Diocesan Cathedral with the faith that it will newly exhilarate and uplift the life in your community, encouraging prayer, worship of God, spiritual healing, honest and honorable endeavors. The church, with its remarkable ornamentation, engraved on the sacred stones of the sanctuary that serve as pages of our age long historic struggle and achievements, will perpetually give encouragement to your national spirit, devotion to the church and patriotism.
These distinctive relief carvings will introduce to our foreign friends the memorable instances of Armenian history "for the sake of the faith and struggles for the Homeland, the glorious deeds of our people stretching from the Earth to heaven, which passed on to you to continue with your faithful life and progression". The Catholicos of All Armenians exhorted the children of Armenia to keep strong in their faith, their church loving and patriotic spirit, always finding their way to this holy church where God’s grace and support will bring vigor and virtue to everyone, bearing in their hearts the glorious messages of our Lord Jesus Christ, leading a God-pleasing life, overcoming our present day challenges and always remaining faithful to the legacy of our Homeland and the sacred values.
On this joyous occasion His Holiness Karekin II expressed special appreciation to Patriarch Kirill I of Moscow and All Russia, as well as to the municipal authorities of the Russian Federation and Moscow, for reinforcing and supporting the progress of the spiritual and national life of the Armenians in Russia with brotherly love.
The Catholicos of All Armenians extended his blessings and high appreciation to the benefactors of the church, for the love and devotion shown to the Armenian Church, as well as to the devoted members of the Diocesan and church communities, the clergymen and all the individuals involved in the essential process of building the church.
On the occasion of the consecration of the magnificent church His Holiness Karekin II expressed his gratitude to the Primate of the Armenian Diocese of New Nahkijevan and Russia and as a tribute to his devoted and faithful service, elevated His Grace Bishop Yezras to the rank of Archbishop and adorned his chest with Episcopal Panagia.
At the conclusion, the Catholicos of All Armenians expressed his wish that Armenia and Russia would prosper and be reinforced with blessings from Almighty God, that the two Churches would be enlightened with the spiritual radiance of our Lord, and the historic friendship between the Armenian and Russian brother nations would remain strong forevermore.
His Holiness Karekin II presented to Patriarch Kirill I; President Sargisyan of Armenia; and President Sahakyan of Nagorno Karabakh, a replicated of the Holy Gospel manuscript by St. Gregory of Tatev, published on the occasion of the consecration of the church.
During this festive event His Holiness Kirill I, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, also offered his congratulations and blessings. His Holiness Kirill I reflected on the historic friendship between the Armenian and Russian people, and also highlighted the importance of church building for the praying spirit, the reinforcement of relations between God and humanity and for the strengthening of spiritual values.
On the occasion of this significant event for the Diocese, by the hand of the Catholicos of All Armenians, "St. Gregory the Illuminator" and "St. Nerses the Gracious" medals of the Armenian Church were also granted with the Encyclicals to the 63 individuals as the benefactors of the Holy Transfiguration Diocesan Cathedral. His Holiness Karekin II also bestowed medals upon Mr. Samvel Karapetyan of Moscow, and Mr. Vladimir Yakunin.
Following the consecration ceremony of the Cathedral, His Holiness Karekin II, visiting Armenians and local guests toured the grounds of the complex and attended the exhibition entitled " Armenians in Moscow: a historic path" in the Diocesan hall. At the conclusion, the Catholicos of All Armenians and Patriarch Kirill I presided over the opening of the memorial of "Love and Brotherhood", located on the grounds of the complex, devoted to the friendship between the Armenian and Russian people.