Rowan Williams

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Arch. Rowan Williams (with purple belt) in Armenia.

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams.

Anglican Church Head Visits Armenia

By Emil Danielyan and Ruzanna Stepanian

The Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, head of the worldwide communion of Anglican Churches, ended on Tuesday a four-day visit to Armenia which he said will strengthen their cordial ties with the Armenian Apostolic Church.

Williams was greeted by Catholicos Of All Armenians Garegin II at the Armenian Church headquarters in Echmiadzin on Saturday.

“During your visit we will have an opportunity to jointly pray for and reflect on cooperation, love and unity of the Christian Churches and further strengthen the existing friendly links between the Armenian and Anglican Churches,” Garegin said, according his press office.

The two clergymen spent the next three days visiting churches and other religious institutions in Echmiadzin, Yerevan and other parts of the country. They also attended on Monday an official reception organized by the British embassy in Armenian in connection with the 81st birthday anniversary of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II. The diplomatic event was held at Garegin’s official residence in Echmiadzin.

Williams, accompanied by Garegin, was received by President Robert Kocharian before leaving Yerevan the next day. Kocharian’s office quoted the Anglican leader as praising the “centuries-old history of friendly relations” between the two churches. “He and the Catholicos of All Armenians reaffirmed their readiness to continue and reinforce them,” it said.

Williams’s itinerary in Armenia also included a visit to a prison near the town of Abovian where he familiarized himself with the plight of its more than 150 inmates, all of them women and juveniles. “My impression is that conditions are improving,” he told reporters there. “There is still some way to go. But I have seen conditions in other countries that are worse than these.”

Williams and Garegin took a particular interest in a 7-year-old girl who was born in the prison just months after her pregnant mother was jailed for murder. The 27-year-old woman told them that her main wish is to be able to raise her daughter in freedom.

Archbishop visits Antelias

PRESS RELEASE Catholicosate of Cilicia Communication and Information Department Contact: V.Rev.Fr.Krikor Chiftjian, Communications Officer Tel: (04) 410001, 410003 Fax: (04) 419724 E- mail: Web:

PO Box 70 317 Antelias-Lebanon

Armenian version:


On Friday, September 28, 2007, the Most Revd Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, visited the Armenian Catholicosate of Cilicia, Antelias-Lebanon, and held a meeting with His Holiness Aram I.

His Holiness hosted a dinner in honor of His Grace, in St. Mary's Monastery in Bikfaya. Members of the Archbishop's entourage, the Cilician Brotherhood and the Central Executive Committee of the Catholicosate were in attendance.

Before his departure, the Archbishop of Canterbury laid a wreath at the memorial monument of the Armenian Genocide of 1915.

View the photos of the Archbishop's visit to Antelias here:

The Armenian Catholicosate of Cilicia is one of the two Catholicosates of the Armenian Orthodox Church. For detailed information about the Ecumenical activities of the Cilician Catholicosate, you may refer to the web page of the Catholicosate, The Cilician Catholicosate, the administrative center of the church is located in Antelias, Lebanon.