His Eminence Archbishop Avak Asadourian, the Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of Iraq and the General Secretary of the Council of Christian Church-Leaders in Baghdad, headed a delegation that visited the Christian Council of Sweden.
The delegation comprised of five high ranking clergymen representing four Christian families:- Catholic, Orthodox, Eastern and Protestant. It included Archbishop Severius Hawa, the Primate of the Syrian Orthodox Church of Baghdad and Basra; Archbishop Georgis Silwa, the Primate of the Ancient Church of the East in Iraq; Archbishop Matti Matoka, the Primate of the Syrian Catholic Church of Baghdad; Bishop Shlaymoun Warduni, the Patriarchal Vicar of the Chaldean Catholic Church in Iraq; and Stwari Haroutounian, the Pastor of the Presbyterian Church in Baghdad.
A mass was celebrated in the Lutheran Cathedral in Uppsala. After the mass the Church of Sweden had the opening of its synod at the auditorium of the University of Uppsala in the presence of Their Majesties the King and Queen of Sweden.At the opening ceremony of the Synod His Eminence Archbishop Avak Asadourian delivered a greeting message which was received with a standing ovation with the participation of the King and Queen of Sweden, as well as the 250 delegates of the synod.
The Iraqi Christian delegation had meetings with numerous Church and governmental organizations that included members of the Parliament and the Undersecretary of the Foreign Ministry of Sweden.
The issues discussed included the unstable situation of Iraq, the utter lack of security, and the hazardous and the unsafe state of affairs the Iraqi people are facing each day since April 2003. Emphasis was placed on the plight of the Christians of Iraq. The Iraqi Church Delegation asked the Church of Sweden, as well as the Parliamentarians and the Foreign Ministry Officials, to bring their own weight with the Governments of the Coalition to work towards instituting security and peace in Iraq for the tragic circumstances of the past four years will cause further suffering and agony for all the citizenry of Iraq.
Archbishop Avak met with the members of the Armenian Community of Stockholm and lectured on the history of the Armenian Church and Community in Iraq. His Eminence explained the complicated and dangerous conditions under which all Iraqis including Armenians are living since April 2003.
During Divine Liturgy celebrated by Fr. Nerseh Khalatian His Eminence delivered the sermon on the spiritual meaning of the feast of the Holy Cross of Varak.
On his return to Baghdad, Archbishop Avak visited in Amman, Jordan Archbishop Vahan Topalian, the Primate of the Armenian Church of Jordan,
Ara S. Ashjian
An Iraqi Armenian settled inYerevan, Armenia
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